Lately, it seems that Redmond, Mountain View and Seoul are all determined to get a piece of the mobile pay pie. Though, currently Apple is the only one that is actually cashing in. Despite the fact that Google Wallet has been around since 2011, while Apple Pay only launched in October of last year, the iOS giant seems to have, pretty much, taken over the mobile pay market. Even though Android dominates iOS in phone sales worldwide, Apple Pay transactions have caught on and are growing exponentially.
Google has every intention of changing that and a source ‘close to the matter’ has told Ars Technica that it will be launching Android Pay at Google I/O in May. The new system will allow companies to add a mobile payments option to their apps, allowing user to upload card information, making payments a single-tap transaction. Google’s Host Card Emulation (HCE) will make it easy for third party apps using Android phones to use NFC (Near Field Communication). Android Pay would still allow users with Google Wallet to pay using the new software, but they would not need to have the older system. Apple Pay has not be a complete detriment to Google Wallet though, since the Android payment system has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of transactions per week since Apple Pay launched.
This past Monday, Google announced that it had acquired SoftCard (formerly ISIS) and that the purchase included ““some exciting technology and intellectual property.” Though SoftCard was initially launched as a competitor to Google Wallet, it seems that there may be some wisdom in the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy.
Meanwhile, with Samsung’s recently announced acquisition of LoopPay, it appears the contest may well end up as an all-out battle between the three giants. There are rumors that we may see the first fruits of this new partnership as early as next week with the announcement of the Galaxy S6. But, either way, its apparent that Samsung does not intend to be left behind when there are mobile payment profits to be made.
I have no idea who will end up on top, when the dust settles but, hopefully, the consumer will be the big beneficiary in the long run. The convenience of mobile payments cannot be denied and it is apparent that this is something that the public wants. Perhaps each will get a fair share of the business that’s coming. And competition is usually a good thing for the customers.
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