Mobile Payments: Android Pay vs Apple Pay

Mobile Payments: Android Pay vs Apple Pay

This year’s software battle seems to have focused heavily on the continuing clash of mobile payment systems that have begun to feature on our smartphones. But with our wallets looking like they could be getting much less time out of our pockets, which system will do the best job usurping them?

To find out, we’re going to take a look at two of the biggest names in mobile payments – Apple Pay and Android Pay. If you’ve got to start thinking about your next smartphone upgrade, and would welcome the ease and simplicity of paying for goods with your phone, these mobile payment systems might be worth keeping a track of.

Apple Pay

Originally showcased with the launch of iOS 8, Apple Pay has found a home market in the US for a good while now, and is set to hit the UK in July. Apple is promising that it will transmit to the UK market effectively, with over 70% of debit and credit cards compatible with the service.

It works by using the Touch ID home button on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, allowing you to verify purchases with a simple press of the button.

It also links with the recently released Apple Watch, allowing users to catch a glimpse of the service on their wrist if they so choose.

Available in 700,000 stores, you can expect a plenty of places to work with it when it kicks off in the UK, with growth expected soon after.

Android Pay

Android Pay is newer than the Apple version of the software, having been announced at the 2015 Google I/O. This hasn’t affected its performance however, with a very similar set-up required – this time being based on Android devices, of course.

The system is also set to feature in 700,000 stores, meaning usage rates will be very similar to that of Apple Pay.

Unlike the iOS based system, the service doesn’t require fingerprint verification, instead opting for a password or passcode entry.

It does link back all the way to Android 4.4 KitKat however, giving it a wider base of phones to work with.

Apple Pay vs Android Pay: What are the differences?

Whilst both systems work very similarly under the hood, there are some notable differences between their mechanisms which make for interesting reading. These could prove the decision maker if you’re planning on investing, so it might be worth paying attention here…

The first big difference between the two is how you verify your payments. As we mentioned earlier, Apple Pay is heavily reliant on Touch ID to make a payment go through. This means that your selection of devices is quite limited compared to Android’s version.

Android sticks with the trusty passcode security feature, meaning that phones only require Android KitKat and NFC to work properly with the system. Whilst this might not be the largest collection of phones, it still proves plenty more than Apple’s array of devices, albeit in a slightly less secure fashion.

The only other difference that stands out is the way Android Pay also makes use of many stores’ loyalty programs within the app. Apple has done this with the Passbook app, but it’s proved pretty useless in the UK so far, giving Android a real edge.

What about Samsung Pay?

Of course, we’ve mentioned two of the biggest names in the business here, but Samsung has also come in with a shout of its own. But how does Samsung Pay fit into this equation? Can it really take on these mobile payment big boys?

For now it seems like quite a task, but it’s certainly achievable, although Samsung doesn’t have too many handsets that will be supporting it.

“Unlike the two previous systems, Samsung Pay doesn’t utilise NFC technology – instead opting for Magnetic Secure Transmission technology”.

Unlike the two previous systems, Samsung Pay doesn’t utilise NFC technology – instead opting for Magnetic Secure Transmission technology. This basically means that any card machine with a magnetic strip reader will work with it, rather than relying on contactless tech.

This is an advantage in the USA, but here in the UK it won’t make too much difference, as many retailers stock contactless chip and pin machines now.

The other big difference is the number of compatible devices, which is well below the mark compared to both Android Pay and Apple Pay. The only phones which work with the system for now are the S6 and S6 Edge, both of which own less market share than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Which mobile payment system is best?

There’s quite the competition hotting up between these two mobile payment systems right now, with each rocking different advantages over the other. Whilst Apple Pay does come across safer with its extra fingerprint verification, it doesn’t offer the loyalty card support which Android Pay does.

However, there’s no clear winner right now, and with each company working against one another, it’s unlikely to be decided very swiftly. So, in the grand scheme of things, neither is likely to become dominant over the other – but it’s certainly interesting to see how mobile payments are quickly becoming an integral part of our flagship smartphone experiences.