Apple Pay Takes on Android Pay

August 27, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

The word came out only recently that Android Pay may be making its way to stores sooner than a lot of people expected. Regardless of those rumors, the idea that Apple Pay is about to have a serious competitor in the market is one that’s well worth thinking about.

While there are no shortage of mobile payment options already on hand, to suggest these have Apple’s market power might be a bit of a stretch. Android Pay, however, is a whole different matter, and comparisons between the two suggest that this could be one heck of a fight when it hits the market fully.

Recently, eWeek took a closer look at the upcoming matchup, and found that this could be much closer than suspected.

In the early stage, Android Pay may have an advantage thanks to its wider number of platforms available; Apple Pay is only available on Apple products, of which there are essentially three that take Apple Pay: the iPhone, the iPad and the Apple Watch. Android Pay, meanwhile, will blow the doors off that number with a huge amount of platforms. This, however, is an advantage that may narrow as more NFC devices are released.

Both platforms accept both in-store and mobile use, so development can continue apace for both sides, leaving neither at a clear advantage there. Both also offer clear capability for purchase tracking, great for budgets and good for security as well, as unauthorized payments are more readily spotted. Both offer support for credit and debit cards, giving no one company the edge there.

There are those who consider Apple Pay more secure thanks to Apple’s use of the Touch ID system, commonly regarded as better than the Android fingerprint sensors on hand. But neither platform shares credit card information, which somewhat narrows the security advantage since there’s less to protect.

Apple Pay also has a slight edge in terms of major bank support, but that’s to be expected given Apple’s first-mover advantage on that front.

So who has the edge right now? That’s a tough call. While Apple’s been out for the better part of a year ahead of Android Pay, Apple has only been available for Apple users. That means a huge part of the potential market is elsewhere, and a lot of potential users could be migrating right into Android Pay instead.

However, there’s a problem with this, too; with Samsung Pay set to show up fairly soon, how much of the Android Pay market will end up in Samsung’s hands instead? Moreover, there are so many other options out there, how much traction will Android Pay even be able to get in this market with all the earlier movers in play?

Naturally, in the end, only time will tell just how this all comes out, but things aren’t looking great for Android Pay thanks to the host of competitors, cannibalization in the market, and a product that’s fairly well-balanced against perhaps its biggest rival so far. Things could change, and for Android Pay’s sake, they may well have to.