Apple Pay fuels usage of long-moribund Google Wallet

“NFC-based mobile payments have had a boost in recent months, possibly thanks to the launch of Apple Pay, which was announced in September,” Megan Geuss reports for Ars Technica. “Now, a person with knowledge of the matter tells Ars that Google Wallet, which launched back in 2011 and saw tepid success in the ensuing three years, has had considerable growth in the last couple of months.”

“According to our source, weekly transactions have increased by 50 percent, and in the recent couple of months, new users have nearly doubled compared to the previous month,” Geuss reports. “Although it’s still unclear whether Apple Pay will gain the critical mass of users necessary to become a true checkout stand alternative, Tim Cook recently said that one million cards were activated on Apple Pay in the first 72 hours of the platform’s launch.”

Geuss reports, “It seems that interest in the platform is buoying Apple’s predecessor among Android users as well.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
With Apple Pay breakthrough, everybody wins – November 4, 2014


  1. “It seems that interest in the platform is buoying Apple’s predecessor among Android users as well.”

    At least for now. Once Fandroids see how much easier Apple Pay is, they will likely abandon Google Wallet altogether (and may even switch to iPhones). Not sure why they’re even bothering (other than pure envy)…

    1. For the next year *at least* and quite likely for the next two or more years, Apple Pay will be iOS ONLY.

      Android users still under contract will not be dropping Google Wallet for Apple Pay. They’d have to drop their Android phone, incur early termination fees, and buy an iOS device that supports Apple Pay. (An inexpensive, shiny, brand new iPhone 5S won’t do!) I don’t see that happening to any major extent.

      For now, Apple Pay faces a hard limit in the number of users by the number of iOS devices that support it in hardware. Plus, at the moment, Apple Pay is U.S. only. Until it expands to Europe and Asia, this limits the number of users to about 20-30 million. Expanding worldwide could get them to a theoretical maximum of 100 million or so within the next year.

      Google Wallet has a huge head start in installed hardware across handsets that are already out there. What has been holding it back are three things: 1) lack of public awareness, 2) a clunky interface/implementation, and 3) limited security and customer data mining.

      The surge in use and media attention to Apple Pay may help cure that first issue. Neither will help issues 2) and 3), causing Google Wallet to be eventually an “also ran” when it comes to Apple Pay — barring any significant restructuring by Google.

    2. According to the article, Macman1984, the experience for the end users (us) is the same between the two approaches. (I agree with you that Apple’s implementation is better. Will never willingly use an Android device in my personal life so I don’t have or will have any experience with their wallet.) Unfortunately I expect Google to soon copy Apple’s approach to the back end.

    3. Wrong. First of all, there is only ONE MORE STEP to using Google Wallet than it is for Apple Pay. ONE MORE STEP. Which by the way
      1) IS TOTALLY OPTIONAL (meaning you can disable it in advance if you know that you are going to use it)
      2) on the newer Android phones like the Galaxy Note 4 WHICH ALSO HAVE RELIABLE FINGERPRINT SCANNERS than the process IS EXACTLY THE SAME.

      Again, despite the little diagrams that you have seen on all the pro-Apple sites which claim that Google Wallet is so much more difficult and complicated than Apple Pay, THE REALITY is:

      1) at the very worst it is ONE ADDITIONAL VERY SIMPLE STEP
      2) if you think ahead or have the latest premium Android phone IT IS THE SAME. If you have a Galaxy Note 4, HTC One Max or similar flagship Android Phone (even the Ascend Mate 7 by Huawei), you have a fingerprint scanner and IT IS THE SAME. (Although the Nexus 6 lacks this, a major oversight.)

      And that is this year. Next year, midrange Android phones will have fingerprint scanners. (The Galaxy Alpha, which costs less than the S5 and the Note, has one already, even if the A3 and A5 do not.)

      Incidentally, before worrying about Android users, it is a far bigger issue that only iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners can use Apple Pay AT ALL. So let us compare:

      1. Every mid-range or premium Android phone owner can use Google Wallet with at most ONE EXTRA STEP (that can be disabled in advance)

      2. Not a single iPhone 4, 5c or 5s owner can use Apple Pay AT ALL.

      Now who is that a bigger problem for? Put it this way: if you bought an Apple 5c or 5s last year (or earlier this year) ON CONTRACT an are stuck with it for the next 2 years as a result, you might want to see about getting a cheap Android device like the Sony Xperia L (for which you can find for about $165 unlocked and off contract) JUST TO BE ABLE TO USE NFC PAYMENTS UNTIL YOUR CONTRACT RUNS OUT.

      Am I right or am I wrong?

      1. The real questions are security and privacy. Since Knox has been shown to be vulnerable I would’t trust it further than I could throw the Dagenham Girl Pipers, complete with entourage and tour bus. Also Google is hardly your friend when it comes to monetising your data.

        Being first at something is rarely the best option, as Apple have so masterfully proved all these years.


      2. @atlman

        I think you are right and wrong. According to Ars Technica, four-digit PIN authentication is required for use of Google Wallet. Even if this is true, I agree that it’s not that much more onerous than using Apple Pay, but it makes the Google Wallet experience resemble chip and PIN technology (although GW is more secure than C&P, since merchants never get your actual credit card number). It also makes Google Wallet inferior to Apple Pay with regard to in-app usage.

        The larger difference is on the backend. With Apple Pay, all transactions use a device-specific account number that is sent to the card issuing banks (e.g. Chase, Bank of America, etc) who translate it to the actual credit card number. With Google Wallet, transactions are completed through use of a Google/Bancorp virtual card. Google then bills the user’s actual end card. This means that all transaction flow goes through Google servers and Google stores those transactions. While some users won’t mind this, some indeed will and it should be noted that Google has received flak in the past for sharing user purchase information with developers.

        You are correct that Google Wallet is available to a larger number of users than Apple Pay, but that makes it strange that the latter has surpassed the former in terms of number of transactions processed.

    1. The stats are not from Google but from an independent observer. Please read the original Ars Technica report. And if it was a 50% increase from a very small base, it would have never been reported.

      Folks, the Google Play Store will have $5 billion in revenue this year. Many of the top selling Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy Series, the HTC One series and the LG G series cost as much as iPhones (the Galaxy Note actually costs more, and the Galaxy Note Edge costs WAY more). Time for silliness like this to end.

  2. Baloney.

    The shysters are just trying to make google appear relevant. They are grabbing figures from where the sun does not ….

    Notice how all news about apple has a partnering “and google” or “and android”. Baloney.

  3. Would be interesting to see the amount of money has been move with each system. I’m sure apple is in the houndreds of millions dollars and Google is somewhere in the houndres of dollards.

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