I’m starting to see signs for Apple Pay and Google Wallet everywhere I go. Google just announced its Android Pay platform and deals with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to pre-install it on Android phones. Samsung is gearing up for its own payment system, Samsung Pay, Walmart is planning its retailer-focused CurrentC system, and PayPal, about to spin off from eBay, has been buying up payment technology vendors and can’t be counted out yet.
For consumers, the decision will likely boil down to whether they own an iPhone or an Android phone, and which apps are easier to use and accepted by most merchants.
Merchants are upgrading this year anyway, as part of a mandated transition to chip-and-pin or “smartcards” and might as well bite the bullet and go all the way to mobile payments while they’re at it. Fortunately, they won’t have to decide between supporting Apple’s platform or Google’s — adding support for one automatically means that they’ll be able to accept the other.