Mobile Payment Services
Recently many of the big companies in the mobile phone market have released and announced mobile payment solutions. These solutions will utilise NFC technology to interact with wireless card readers which are becoming widely available around the world.
There have been a number of apps that have attempted to do this over the past few years, but due to needing to get banks and merchants to use their service they have not got very far.
These following services, announced recently, are trying to bring this new form of payment to the mass market.
Apple was announced alongside the iPhone 6, it will also work on the Apple Watch and iPad Air 2. This service will allow you to pay at physical card readers or with compatible apps. Although there have been attempts before at creating similar applications, for it to be successful you need to get as many banks and stores to agree to accept the payment. Apple has been the first company to manage this on a large scale which has really opened up this industry.
Google have recently announced Android Pay, which unlike Apple Pay, will not be a standalone app. Instead it will be a service that can be used by third-party apps to build their own mobile payment systems. Google have another product, Google Wallet, which tried to implement wireless payment in a similar way as Apple Pay. While Apple Pay has taken off, Google Wallet has failed as it could not build a large enough base of merchants and banks to use support app.
Samsung have announced Samsung Pay which is in collaboration with MasterCard after acquiring the American Startup LoopPay. This allows much more compatibility with older payment machines but unfortunately it will only be available on the new Galaxy S6 for MasterCard cardholders.
There has also been an announcement from PayPal that they plan to acquire Paydiant who are part of the Merchant Customer Exchange. This could also become a big service over the next few years.
It it secure?
If you are wondering how secure it is to wander round with all your card details on your phone. All the details will be encrypted and will usually not be passed on to any of the merchants. They will all be using their own technologies to process payments in the most secure way.
For Apple Pay, and other Android devices, they can use the biometric fingerprint reader to authorise purchase and you can wirelessly block payments the same way you would lock your phone if you lost it. So you have no need to worry about the security of these systems.
What does it mean for me?
Well if you would like to start using contactless mobile payment in the UK you will have to wait a while. At the minute all of these services are only available in the USA due to an increased user base and the ability to get American banks and merchants to allow the services.
But hopefully we will be seeing this service a lot more in Europe over the coming year and will eventually be able to leave our wallets at home.