From snapping pictures to tracking footsteps, smartphones have become the all-in-ones of today's society. Few would have guessed as recently as 20 years ago that phones would be used for anything other than calling, yet today, they now offer an incredible range of functionality designed to facilitate everyday life, including making payments.
This is part of the reason so many businesses have overhauled their point-of-sale systems for mPOS. Indeed, mobile wallet use rose 8 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to Blackhawk Network. What's more, 80 percent of consumers who have used mobile wallets say they're using it as often today as they did 12 months ago, and 73 percent are taking advantage of peer-to-peer payment methods more often or as frequently as they did a year ago.
Still, mobile wallets and peer-to-peer payment are relatively new compared to other methods, like cash, credit cards, checks or even digital payments like PayPal. Apple Pay and Google Pay (formerly Android Pay) are the two standard NFC-based solutions supported by most retailers today. Let's take a look.
Launched in 2014, Apple Pay is a mobile payment service that allows individuals to purchase goods and services on a wide variety of devices the multinational tech company produces, such as the iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch. By syncing debit cards with their mobile devices, users can buy virtually anything they want, so long merchants accept Apple Pay, which an increasing number of companies do. Indeed, according to the Verge, more than one-third of merchants allow for Apple Pay.
Soon, the tech giant says, Apple Pay users will be able to ask Siri - the voice-activated personal assistant that comes standard with mobile devices - to send money in the form of a text message.
A rival to Apple Pay is Google Pay. Owned by Google, some say Google Pay is not as omnipresent as Apple's offering, mainly because Apple has a wider array of mobile platforms, including tablets, watches and of course smartphones. However, it's every bit as user-friendly and is operated in much the same manner. When buyers are ready to pay for their service or merchandise, they can hold their devices up to the terminal.
As it happens, the availability of Google Pay may in fact be on par with Apple's mobile payment system. According to Android Headlines, 34 percent of card issuers accept it in the U.S. It's becoming more of an option in other parts of the world as well, specifically Spain, Russia, Taiwan, Canada and Belgium.
There's no denying that cash is still widely used, as indicated in a study obtained by Bloomberg regarding the spending habit of 18,000 people in half a dozen countries. But it's also true that mobile payments are here to stay, making mobile not just a priority for business owners but a necessity.