Apple Pay is finally here. After months of rumors, Apple confirmed this week that the iPhone will have near-field communication (NFC) functionality. Now, you and your customers can pay for in-store purchases using an iPhone, thus eliminating the need to carry around cash and credit cards.
NFC is nothing new, but with Apple finally catching up to its competitors, many speculate that it could mean big things for the future of mobile payments. But how does Apple Pay compare to its closest mobile payments rival, Google Wallet? Read on to find out.
Apple Pay. Apple Pay combines NFC technology and the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint reader to speed up checkout. Simply hold your iPhone near the contactless reader with your finger on the Touch ID, and the phone will vibrate and beep when checkout is complete. There’s no need to open any apps or even turn on your screen.[Apple Pay: Top 3 Features for Small Business Owners]
Google Wallet. Google Wallet also uses NFC technology and requires you to hold your phone near the contactless reader to finish checkout. Unlike Apple Pay, however, Google Wallet requires a couple of extra steps: You’ll need to wake up your screen and, in some cases, enter a PIN to complete the purchase.
Plan on accepting Apple Pay or Google Wallet? You’ll need a contactless reader from your point-of-sale (POS) system provider. For a side-by-side comparison of the best POS systems, visit our sister site Top Ten Reviews.
There are several ways to add credit and debit cards to Apple Pay, which are all stored in Passbook. The easiest way is to use the credit or debit card already associated with your iTunes account by entering the security code. To add a new card, you can either take a photo of the card or enter the information manually.
Google Wallet. To add a card to Google Wallet, you can either sign in to the Google Wallet website, use the Settings menu in the mobile app or log in through your bank’s website.
What makes Apple Pay different?
Apple Pay, like other Apple products, is designed to work entirely within the Apple and iOS ecosystem. What ultimately makes Apple Pay different from Google Wallet is that it aims to be the central hub for all purchases that iPhone users make, spanning everything from offline to mobile purchases.
Apple Pay relies heavily on Passbook to store credit cards, which makes perfect sense, considering Passbook already stores your mobile payments and loyalty cards (along with coupons, tickets and boarding passes). If you use Google Wallet on your iPhone, you’ll have to use the Google Wallet app, which requires extra steps and isn’t streamlined with all your other payment data.
In addition to in-store checkout, you can use Apple Pay to pay for in-app purchases, which you can’t do with Google Wallet. Just choose “Apple Pay” during checkout and place your finger on Touch ID to complete the purchase.
What makes Google Wallet different?
Like Apple Pay, Google Wallet lets you pay for both online and offline purchases. What Apple Pay lacks, though, Google Wallet makes up for by offering even more ways to pay and send money online.
Google Wallet payments aren’t limited to major credit and debit cards. You can also use your Wallet Balance — the amount stored in your Google Wallet or Google Wallet Card, Google’s MasterCard debit card — to pay for purchases. This feature is especially useful if you want to keep your personal credit and debit cards out of your smartphone.
Additionally, Google Wallet works seamlessly with Google Play, Drive, YouTube and other Google properties, as well as apps and mobile websites that already use the “Buy with Google” button.
Unlike Apple Pay, Google Wallet also lets you send money to — or request money from — friends. All you need is the other person’s email address, and money can be wired either by bank transfer or using your Wallet Balance.