Android users might have raised an eyebrow at the media attention given to Apple Pay, given that the Google Wallet service has been available since 2011. However, it now appears that Google may be benefiting from Apple raising the profile of mobile payment: 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 …
Apple Pay works in a similar fashion to Google Wallet at the till, providing a virtual payment card on a smartphone, but stores ‘virtual device numbers’ in place of card numbers, and using single-use codes for payment. Apple Pay does not yet offer the same gift card and person-to-person payments as Google Wallet.
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 both Google Wallet and 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.’
The Google Wallet app is a free download from the Play store.