What Everybody Ought to Know About the Mobile Payment Wars

Apple Pay in Action
Insert Brand Name Here Pay. If you had to sum it up in one sentence, that’s the state of the mobile payment wars today. Apple Pay. Samsung Pay. Android Pay. All the top smartphone makers want to make the wallet extinct with their latest handsets that let you pay with a tap of your phone instead of a swipe of your credit card.

3 Reasons You’ll Care About Mobile Payments

The promise of a smartphone that can pay instantly is super compelling. Here’s a quick rundown of how consumers will win with mobile payments:

1. MORE CONVENIENT

You’ll save time previously wasted pulling out credit cards. This should especially help any of you used to digging around in oversized purses for your wallet.

2. MORE SECURE

Paying via mobile could put the days of credit card hacks like we saw with Target and Home Depot behind us. Apple Pay and the others ensure the safety of transactions with tokenization, which means that each time you pay a virtual card number gets generated so you never expose your actual account number to a retailer.

3. MORE YOU

Unlike with a credit card, only you can use your phone to make a purchase. Your fingerprint authorizes purchases with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and some of the other new contactless payment phones get you to enter your PIN at time of payment.

The Mobile Payment Battles Have Begun

Back in 2009, Starbucks proved mobile payments are big business, and Google Wallet originally launched in 2011. But it’s taken until 2015 for the mobile payment scene to really heat up, with Tim Cook bragging that Apple is leading the charge–pun intended.

Apple Pay has gotten a definite head-start with an influx of users since the launch of the iPhone 6. Mobile payments could very well grow to a $818 billion market by 2019, though, so don’t expect Samsung and Google to rest on their laurels. Samsung Pay just debuted at last week’s Mobile World Congress, and Samsung claims that its tap-to-pay solution will be accepted at 90% of retailers versus a measly 10% acceptance for Apple Pay.

Google has also been making moves, striking a deal with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to have Android phones come with Google Wallet pre-installed. Google also just announced Android Pay which it says is different from Apple Pay because it’s not just a product-it’s an open platform that developers can use to create their own Android-apps with mobile payment capabilities.

You’ll Have to Pay to Play

To pay like it’s 2015, you’ll likely have to upgrade your device because these mobile payment features won’t work with older models. Getting access to Samsung Pay will mean having the latest Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge. Apple Pay requires iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or buying an Apple Watch to make a quick tap payment. Google Wallet offers the greatest device compatibility, but even it means owning a phone recent enough to run Android 4.4 KitKat or later. So, if you want to mobile pay like a boss but need a new phone to do so, we advise that you sell your old mobile phone to help offset the cost of your next upgrade.

Don’t Throw Your Wallet Away Just Yet

While Apple, Samsung, and Google vie for mobile payment dominance, your dream of leaving your wallet at home won’t become a reality overnight. These new pay-phones will require that stores equip their registers with NFC-capable checkouts, and less than 10% of retailers accept contactless payments today. Expect companies to scramble well into 2016 to update their store locations to support mobile payments.

While there’s currently a lot of media hype around mobile payment, we still have a long way to go before it becomes mainstream. Samuel L and Jennifer Garner won’t lose their Capital One jobs chiming “What’s In Your Wallet?” anytime soon.

Co-founder at uSell

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