Back when credit and debit cards were first introduced, they were really big deal. Granted, I was not there to have a card but I’ve heard they were awesome. Now in the age of mobile payments like Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, you don’t even need cards anymore, we can simply take out our smartphones and Pay for stuff without the need of ever opening our wallet. Now that’s progress!
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Android Pay vs Apple Pay is an interesting comparison; essentially they are both the same just with a different brand name. There are some differences that are likely due to the platform they are being used on rather than the service.
This article will take a deeper look at both Android Pay and Apple Pay and see which one is the best for you. Before we start doing that, we have to know what Android and Apple Pay actually are and how they work. So let’s start with the science and history lesson first.
History of Android Pay
Android Pay has been around for around 3 years and it was first announced at Google’s I/O conference. It launched a few months later on September 11, 2015 in the United States. Back then there was only Google Wallet and Android Pay was a little better version of it. Oddly Google wallet stuck around for quite a while until Android decided to combine both and make Google Pay, which was just announced in January 2018.
At first Android Pay was only available in the United States, but then slowly and surely started being used in other regions. UK, Australia, Taiwan, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Poland, Japan, Russia, and Hong Kong would see releases of Android Pay gradually. Google is aiming to bring their payment service to many other regions as well, we’ve heard that they are planning to launch it in India as well with the help of the local government and with a new name. Overall, it’s been widely available around the globe and has been providing a quality service for a number of years in the US.
History of Apple Pay
Tim Cook took the stage while announcing the iPhone 6 in September 2014 and also announced Apple Pay for their platform. However, it took a month to actually launch the service for iPhone users and it only worked with iOS 8.1 update. As Apple Pay also uses NFC, older devices were out of luck because they didn’t have the NFC chip embedded. So the service only worked with iPhone and iPhone 6+ at that time. It also came to the first generation of Apple watch and has been included in all the Apple devices since then.
Even though Android had NFC chips well before Apple, it was Apple Pay that came before Android Pay and used NFC chips to do secure payments. Apple Pay is also available for MacBook Pro laptops that come with touch ID and is also capable of working on iPads but only with the app because there is no hardware support. So basically Apple pushed their Apple Pay on almost all of their devices and has been successful in integrating it in their ecosystem.
How Does Android Pay Work?
Android Pay uses NFC technology to communicate your information to point-of-sale terminals. NFC is near field communication technology that is supported on most Android smartphones and watches these days. Android devices have been using NFC chips for a long time now so even made budget-end smartphones have the chips inside them these days so you’ll have no trouble accessing Android Pay with your device.
All you need to do is check if your smartphone has NFC, download the Android Pay app and store your information in. After that you just need to place your smartphone near the point-of-sale terminal and the payment will go through. Your smartphone will be able to send a signal through the NFC chip along with the payment information to the terminal and you’ll get a confirmation about the payment.
It can also be used on some NFC supported ATMs so you can easily withdraw funds without having to open your physical wallet at all.
How Does Apple Pay Work?
Apple Pay also uses NFC technology to do payments. Essentially it’s exactly the same service as Android Pay and works similarly as well. However a point to be noted here is that the older iPhones and hardware won’t be able to take advantage of Apple Pay simply because they don’t come with an NFC chip. Newer Apple devices from iPhone 6 above, come with NFC chips so you’ll be able to use Apple Pay with them.
With Apple Pay on your device, you’ll be able to take your phone to any retail store that supports the service and you’ll be able to easily do checkouts. All you need to do is take your smartphone near the NFC pad and that is it, you don’t need to do anything extra to do payments. However, before you start using Apple Pay or Android Pay for that matter, you’ll need to store your information in the app. This can be either done by taking a picture of your credit card or manually entering the information.
Advantages of Using Android Pay
Android Pay just like Android is open, and by open I mean that it works on the vast majority of Android devices around. There are no restrictions on which manufacturer can utilize Android Pay and which cannot. Any modern device that comes with an NFC chip, runs Android and is updated above Android 4.4 kit Kat will be able to use Android Pay without any problems.
This basically means that virtually any latest device apart from the super budget ones, will allow you to use Android Pay for payments without the need to purchase and overly expensive iPhone and really dent your wallet. Another great thing about Android Pay is the ability to use any type of passcode you want, further securing your payments. If your device has a fingerprint scanner, you can easily use it to authorize payments alternatively, you can type in a passcode to enable payments as well.
Even though Android Pay came a little bit layer than Apple Pay, there are about 1.5 million retail stores in the USA that fully support Android Pay. Almost all the major banks and credit units in the United States support Android Pay. This means at least in the US and most of UK and Canada, you won’t have any trouble doing payments through Android Pay. More banks and retail locations are supporting Android Pay day by day so will only see growth as we go ahead.
Advantages of Using Apple Pay
Apple Pay started out before Android Pay even launched so it has the time advantage on its side. It is supported in over 20 countries and territories and is widely considered the biggest supported mobile payment service globally. Recently Apple announced that the Apple Pay support is available in over 50% of all retailers in the United States. Which is a very large number to be fair and most of the banks in the US support Apple Pay as well.
Apple Pay users can also use the fingerprint scanner on their devices to easily authorize payments. Users also have the ability to enable payments only when their fingerprints are detected on the device making it one of the most secure payment methods around. The iPhone X lost with a Face ID system and Apple Pay can use it to confirm payments as well, it is a highly convenient method of authorizing payments.
Apple is always looking to expand their Apple Pay services and with the upcoming iOS update they are aiming to include more features. One major feature will enable users to send funds to others via iMessage app. This shows Apple is dead serious about making Apple Pay one of the best mobile payment methods in the world and is clearly dedicated to that cause.
Disadvantages of Android Pay
One of the biggest disadvantage of using Android Pay is the support. It is not as widely available as Apple Pay and even though the support is growing, it is nowhere near the level which Apple has already achieved.
In the US it may not be a big deal, but step a little outside and you’ll have trouble finding retailers and banks that support Android Pay. It is completely missing from certain markets making it absolutely useless there. While it is growing fast, it will still take a lot of time and effort reach the level where Apple is at right now.
Disadvantages of Apple Pay
Just like Android Pay, Apple also has its downsides while it is available widely, the devices that supported are not. Apple Pay can only be used on devices that are manufactured by Apple themselves, if you use any other brand or device, you’re out of luck. While Android allows every manufacturer to take advantage of their payment system, Apple has always been all about their closed ecosystem and thus you won’t be able to use their service anywhere else.
If you’re still using an older device, Apple Pay will only work if you also own an Apple watch and connect your device to it. However, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on Apple watch and still keep the older smartphone, unless you really like the small size of the older devices. Another disadvantage is that if you use a smaller bank or credit union in the USA, Apple Pay may not be supported yet.
Android Pay vs Apple Pay
The debate of Android Pay vs Apple Pay is not complicated. It’s not like we’re comparing two competing smartphone brands and trying to find out which one is best here. However, we are trying to find which service suits your personal needs the best. Thankfully, all the answers are very straightforward and clear cut and there is no ambiguity when it comes to deciding between Android Pay and Apple Pay. So here are our conclusions:
- If you use Apple products and see yourself using them for the foreseeable future, you should definitely use Apple Pay.
- If you are an Android fan and don’t want to switch to Apple, Android Pay is widely available on a number of different devices and is just as reliable as Apple Pay.
- However, if you want a mobile payment service to work most of the time, then Apple Pay wins over Android Pay simply because it is supported at a large number of retail outlets and banks.
All of these scenarios only apply to US however, in some countries both the payment services are not available at all, so it wouldn’t make sense to invest in any of them because none of the retail stores will support it and neither will the banks. In some countries Apple Pays is available whereas Android Pay is not launched yet so your only choice will be to use Apple Pay and vice versa.
One major point to be noted here in the Android Pay vs Apple Pay comparison is that both of them do essentially the same things. They allow you to pay at retail outlets and banks without the need of taking out any kind of cards or even your physical wallet. It is a fascinating technology that we can see only growing from here on out. Both Apple and Google will be pushing their payment methods with full force and this is only good for the consumer.
We do wish that Apple was a little bit more flexible, but they have always been about a closed ecosystem and so we don’t see Apple Pay coming to other operating systems at all. However, Android, just like the nature of its open OS, is available on almost every Android running device and it may see the jump to others as well.
In the end all the have to say is use whichever service you feel is right for you because both of them are identical in usage and you don’t have to be locked down to one payment system at all. If you decide to move towards Android, because why not, then you can simply switch over to Android Pay and it won’t be a big deal.
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