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Comparing eWallets: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay

The smartphone has transformed many of the ways we work, play, learn and shop. Now it’s transforming how we pay for goods and services.

Digital wallets—also known as mobile wallets or eWallets—are on the rise. In the US that rising tide is led by what are known as “The Pays,” which are eWallets like: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay. And they’re not alone, other eWallets include Walmart Pay, PayPal and Amazon Pay among the competitors in an increasingly competitive field.

The growth of big implications for businesses looking to satisfy today’s mobile-first consumers. The good news is that accepting payments from “the Pays” and other digital wallets is easier than ever. Today’s consumers expect to be able to pay however they want, wherever they want. Adding digital wallets to your payment acceptance mix can help you serve those customers better.

What is a digital wallet?

A digital wallet is a smartphone app that securely stores credit, debit and other funding sources to make payments in-store, online or on-the-go. Also known as mobile wallets, mobile money or eWallets, digital wallets are safe and convenient alternatives to cash, checks and plastic payment cards.

Digital wallets securely store payment account data like credit card, debit card or checking account information. Digital wallets also store personal information that makes online and mobile checkout easier for consumers.

eWallets make it possible for businesses like yours to allow customers to securely make their purchase with a smooth checkout experience—all with the click of a button or a tap of a phone.

Which digital wallet came first? Which is the most popular?

Apple Pay mobile payment solutions was released in 2014, announcing itself as “a new category of service that will transform mobile payments with an easy, secure and private way to pay.” By 2018 an eMarketer survey found that 22 million US consumers use Apple Pay mobile payment solution, making it the most popular among the three “Pays” at the time. According to Apple, 74 of the top 100 US merchants and 65% of US retail locations support Apple Pay mobile payment solution as of January 2019.

Samsung's eWallet, Samsung Pay, first was introduced in August 2015. eMarketer estimates that there were 9.9 million US Samsung Pay users in 2018. A 2018 study by Auriemma Consulting Group found that Samsung Pay users were the most engaged among “the Pays” with Samsung Pay users making 7.3 transactions per month, compared to 5.5 transactions per month for Apple Pay and Google Pay users.

Google's mobile payment solution was originally known as Android Pay which was first released in the US in September 2015, though its roots go back even further to the Google Wallet mobile payment solution that first appeared in 2011. Both the Android Pay and Google Wallet names were retired in January 2018 with all products consolidated under the Google Pay brand. eMarketer estimates that there were 11.1 million US Google Pay users in 2018.

How are eWallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay accepted in-store?

The widespread adoption of EMV chip card technology represented huge leap in secure payments and helped pave the way for digital wallet acceptance. Today, accepting digital wallets is as simple as your customers’ tapping their phone on your point of sale.

Digital wallets are a form of contactless payment that uses near field communication (NFC). NFC technology is built into the vast majority of today’s payment acceptance terminals and other devices. NFC securely transfers data between a mobile device and a POS using radio frequencies. The “near” means that the consumers’ device needs to be in close proximity to the payment terminal.

Samsung's mobile payment solution also works with legacy magnetic stripe terminals, utilizing MST (magnetic secure transmission) technology. That advantage is waning as more and more businesses complete the upgrade to newer, more secure payment acceptance equipment.

How are digital wallets accepted online and in-app?

Many eCommerce merchants are learning the benefits of offering digital wallet acceptance as well.  Digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay make online, mobile and in-app purchases easy.

Digital wallets online rely on tokenization to make checkout easy for consumers. Tokenization enables “one-click” checkout and other innovations that reduce the friction involved in earlier checkout experiences. Consumers are freed from the drudgery of having to complete payment and address information, making checkout easier, reducing cart abandonment and improving conversion rates.

Setting up your eCommerce business to accept digital wallets is easy. Merchants can talk to their payment processor or eCommerce platform provider about offering these and other digital wallets for online payment.

Are Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay eWallets secure?

Ongoing headlines detailing the negative fallout from data breaches and fraud elevate secure credit card payments to a top priority for any consumer-facing business.

Leading digital wallets use tokenization to guard against credit card data theft. Tokenization securely stores personal payment data in a specially-designed and single-purpose secure token vault. The data that is tokenized in digital wallets provides everything needed for secure payments while leaving nothing of value for criminal fraudsters.

Digital wallets enjoy the benefit of a crucial additional layer of protection offered by consumer smartphones.  Biometric technologies like fingerprints and retina scans combined with other authentication methods means smartphone-based payments are more secure than ever.

Of course, digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay are not the only eWallets available. PayPal, Amazon Pay and Walmart Pay eWallets are just a few of the payment app services available from well-known brands. P2P payment apps like Zelle and Venmo are increasingly being used for payments as well.

Digital wallets are even more popular around the world. Take China, where eWallets like WeChat Pay and Alipay are wildly popular. Worldpay’s 2018 Global Payments Report estimates that eWallets in the Asia Pacific region account for more than 52% of eCommerce sales and 27% of point of sale spend in 2018.

Which digital wallets should I accept at my business?

So which digital wallets should you accept at your business? There’s no single solution, but it’s a great idea to start with your customers and how they want to pay. The next step is to speak with your payments partner who will take the time to understand the changing needs of your business and devise a payment acceptance strategy that fits the way your business works.

We help businesses around the world craft payment solutions that fit the way they do business. Connect with one of our payment experts today to learn more about how accepting digital wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay can help your business grow.

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