In payments, Google comes storming back

Written by on June 3, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

mma fighter performing a counter attack from a kick

The payments arena is destined to be intensely interesting for the next few years. Not only is it centring around the two giants Google and Apple – and their operating systems, it is about the war around Android itself.

At the recent Google Developer conference, Google made some serious announcements about its pay play. Android Pay is clearly the serious piece of work that is the result of that well known experiment (hindsight is a great thing) Google Wallet. At launch, it will available at over 700,000 locations and in 1,000 apps. No app has to be launched for it to work, and the handset does not need to taken out of a pocket or a bag. It is as secure, or more so, than Apple Pay, using fingerprint technology and issuer authentication.

It is, it seems safe to say, a serious proposition.

The real difference is that, unlike Apple who likes to keep things to itself, Android Pay is based on a strong and established team of partners.

The announcement heralds the start of two battles.

One, perhaps the more interesting one, is with a number of other players trying to get a stronghold in the Android world. From MCX to Samsung, both strong players, Android Pay now changes their game. For example, MCX, which earlier this year, and late last year, many thought would be a clear winner, because it was designed ‘by the merchants for the merchants‘, will be thinking hard. Samsung the Mighty meanwhile is never pushed aside without a fight.

The other one is with Apple. Apple Pay has made huge strides in educating the market to the fact that ‘paying’ with your phone is safe and simple. It has caught on as quickly as you expect a cool solution from Apple to catch on. And it is, indeed, simple, safe and secure.

Riding on this wave will give Android a huge advantage and will probably make the payments game basically a two horse race.

Perhaps, though, the Google vs Apple battle, beloved of commentators is not entirely relevant. Will the launch of either payment service sell more devices? That is debatable. Will it affect customers and the customer experience, which is what this is all about anyway? Probably not immediately, but it will the real fight in the long term

What it will do is make payments via devices go mainstream at great speed. And it will make the payments space fascinating to watch for several years yet.

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Alex Leslie

About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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