Don’t Leave Home Without It

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The slogan “don’t leave home without it” from American Express in 1975 seems to have a new meaning today. We don’t leave home without our mobile phone. It appears that technology is en route to making the little plastic cards we swipe and insert daily, almost entirely obsolete. Apple Pay and Google Pay have created secure, frictionless payment experiences that make it okay to forget your wallet at home.

These systems allow for contactless transactions with just your finger. Your cards are tokenized and virtually stored, making for quick, convenient purchases through mobile, in-store, or online.

Google Pay began as Google Wallet back in 2011 which later developed into Android Pay in 2015. At the beginning of January this year, Google Pay was released, unifying those two previous platforms. Apple Pay, aside from improved, additional features, has remained consistent since its release in 2014. The number of Android users is almost double that of iOS (Apple’s operating software) users, reported as 1 billion to 470 million, according to Lily Newman of slate.com.

Google Pay works with Android operating systems, while Apple Pay works solely with Apple products. In a survey conducted by PYMNTS.com, individuals were asked about how frequently they use Google (Android as of 2017) Pay and to compare it to swiping a physical card. All of these following statistics are taken from December of 2017.

Almost half of the users asked, 49.1%, use it “every chance” they get, 39.7% “whenever they remember”, 10.8% “rarely consider using mobile pay”, and 0.5% “stopped trying to use mobile pay”. When compared with swiping an actual card, the “ease of use” of Android Pay had 49.5% say it was “much better”, 47.2% “about the same, and 3.3% “much worse”. “Speed at checkout” with Android Pay was marked by 53.3% as “much better”, 43.0% as “about the same”, and 3.7% as “much worse”. Convenience showed the highest ratings with 57.5% stating Android Pay was “much better” than a physical card, 39.7% as “about the same”, and 2.8% for “much worse”. “Security” was almost even with 50.5% believing digital was “much better”, 48.1% “about the same”, and 1.4% “much worse”.

The exact questions were asked of Apple Pay users at the end of 2017 as well. A small 17% of users claimed they use Apple Pay “every change they get”, 44.2% “when they remember”, 35.4% “rarely consider using Apple Pay, and 3.4% simply have “stopped trying”. In terms of “ease of use”, 32.5% answered Apple Pay was “much better”, 5.3% for “about the same”, and 62.1% said it was “much worse”. Regarding “speed at checkout”, 37.2% replied Apple Pay was “much better”, 4.9% “about the same”, and 57.9% for “much worse”. “Convenience” of Apple Pay was marked with 41.6% stating it was “much better”, 5.2% saying it was about the same, and 53.2% “much worse”. As a matter of “security”, 33.3% believed Apple Pay was “much better”, 4.7% “about the same”, and 62.0% thought “much worse”.

Android Pay, now Google Pay, when compared to the Apple Pay reports, showed stronger results from its users, with them displaying significantly more confidence in their digital wallet. Both digital wallets however, have in common the legitimate comfort in security. Despite the uncertainty of users, which can be shown from the numbers previously discussed, the setup of these platforms actually allows for safer transactions. Merchants are never able to collect your card information, instead it is “tokenized”. This tokenization means your information is shown with an arbitrary code rather than revealing sensitive data. So, how prominent have these digital wallets actually become? With over 700 million iPhone users and approximately 1 billion Android users, markets worldwide are more widely accepting these forms of payment, most notably in the Asia-Pacific sector. A closer look from Jackie Dove at Tom’s Guide, also reveals these innovative systems have surpassed 5 million accepting locations.

Statistic: Number of smartphone users worldwide from 2014 to 2020 (in billions) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Statistic: Availability of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay in global regional markets as of 1st quarter 2017 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

So, as bizarre as it may seem leaving your physical wallet, multiple cards, cash, and coins all at home, some people are making the change. The surveys from PYMNTS.com clearly indicate some apprehension from users, but this could potentially be a transition period where breaking old habits can just mean some natural discomfort. As merchants and consumers become more familiar with these new systems, the processes are bound to work more smoothly, right? Well, with Apple Pay, some think it has already reached its peak. Karen Webster of PYMNTS.com reports, “the inconvenient Apple Pay truth is that not enough consumers see the value in it, so 19 out of every 20 people who could use it don’t even bother anymore.” How do you feel about digital versus tangible? We all know practice makes perfect; and don’t we all want what’s safest and most secure when it comes to our money and personal information?

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