While Apple Pay has grabbed all the attention in the mobile payment field, with the Google Wallet service launched back in 2011 having failed to make the same kind of splash, it appears that Google may be benefiting from the publicity generated by Apple. Sources cited by arsTechnica report that Google Wallet service has seen the number of users almost double, with a 50% increase in weekly transactions during the past couple of months …
Google Wallet works in a similar fashion to Apple Pay at the till, providing a virtual payment card on a smartphone, though without fingerprint authorization for transactions. Google Wallet does, however, offer additional functionality through support for gift cards and person-to-person payments. As with Apple Pay, it is currently only available to U.S. cardholders.
Google is faring rather better than another rival mobile payment service, CurrentC. An exclusivity clause in the MCX consortium contract led to first CVS and then Rite Aid switching off support for NFC payments, preventing the use of Apple Pay. MCX responded to the controversy with some rather unconvincing assurances (not helped by an admission that it had already been hacked) followed by some rapid back-tracking in the face of growing consumer resentment and at least one rebel merchant – yesterday stating that the exclusivity clause will expire ‘within months.’
If you want to compare Google Wallet to Apple Pay for yourself, an iOS app is available as a free download from iTunes.