Mobile payments have quickly become a popular method of payment with shoppers. Instead of using cash or credit card, consumers have been utilizing mobile wallets on their smartphones to make their in-store purchases. Although there have been several new mobile wallets that have emerged, the top three contenders that have stood out amongst their competitors include Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. 


To help understand the benefits of what each mobile wallet provides, here is an informative Q&A that discusses the differences and similarities between Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay: 


Q: What is Apple Pay?
A: Apple Pay was the first leading mobile wallet that was released in October of 2014. Currently, Apple Pay is only available for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, Apple Watch (paired with the iPhone5 or later), and iPad (for online usage only). 


Q: What is Android Pay?
A: Android Pay is another mobile wallet that was released in September of 2015. It is available on any Android smartphone that runs Android 4.4 KitKat or newer. 


Q: What is Samsung Pay?
A: Samsung Pay was also released in September of 2015 and has had great success within the mobile wallet industry. It is available on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 active, and the Samsung Galaxy Note5. 


Q: What form of technology enables mobile wallets?
A: Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay are all supported by a form of technology called Near-Field Communication (NFC). NFC uses chips embedded in smartphones and functions as a segment of a wireless link. Once initiated by another chip device, the smartphone can transfer small quantities of data by being held just a few centimeters away from the terminal. Merchants can easily accept all mobile wallets with an NFC-enabled terminal. 


Q: How do you make a payment with each mobile wallet?
A: Apple Pay requires users to use the Touch ID feature and scan their fingerprint on their device before making a payment. However, users do not have to unlock their phones to do this, cutting down the amount of time it takes to process the transaction. 


When making a payment using Android Pay, users will have to unlock their phones and will “tap to pay”. No Touch ID with a fingerprint is required. 


Consumer’s using Samsung Pay will need to swipe up from the home button on their device or select the Samsung Pay app on their home screen. Like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay requires fingerprint identification from the user to initiate a purchase, or can be initiated by entering their pin. 


Q: What keeps mobile wallets secure?
A: Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay all use a tokenization process to keep the user’s financial information safe and secure. Instead of each mobile wallet sending the user’s credit/debit card number to the merchant, a one-time “token” is sent to the merchant’s terminal, protecting the payment details throughout the payment process. The card information instead is only stored on the consumer’s device and is never sent directly to the merchant. If a consumer’s phone is stolen or lost, each mobile wallet has the capability for the user to wipe their device completely clean for added protection. 


Q: What merchants accept Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay?
A:  Apple Pay is currently accepted at over a million locations throughout the United States and can be used to pay for apps with a single touch. Android Pay is accepted at over one million stores within the U.S. and is also available in over a dozen Android apps. Samsung Pay has the competitive edge, as it can work by using NFC, (at contactless terminals), or with magnetic secure transmission, (MST), at traditional magnetic strip terminals. As a result, Samsung Pay is accepted virtually anywhere a consumer can tap or swipe their credit card, estimating to be at 90 percent of retail locations throughout the world.  


Mobile wallets are certainly growing in popularity and are continuing to become more pronounced within the payment industry. Subsequently, it is imperative to understand the differences and similarities of the three major mobile wallet players on the market – Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. By comprehending the similarities and differences between each one, consumers and merchants alike will have a better idea of how each one works and the benefits they can bring to making payments.