Apple Pay has grabbed the attention in the NFC mobile payments space since its launch. It had already witnessed a million payment card activations within the first 72 hours.
To me, the most important thing for a mobile wallet is the extent to which the consumer likes it. That is the test that most wallets have failed to pass. Apple Pay certainly has a very good start. Read three tweets below:
Mike Dudas, Co-Founder at Button, had tweeted a quote by Walt Mossberg, Founder of Re/code:
— Mike Dudas (@mdudas) November 4, 2014
Aaron Levie, CEO of BOX.com, had tweeted:
Today Apple Pay launches. Which means my diet now consists of McDonald's and whatever can be bought at the Disney Store.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) October 20, 2014
The following two news items show the effect of Apple Pay in the market:
Google Wallet user base grows
As reported by Ars Technica, weekly transactions in Google Wallet have increased by 50% and in recent couple of months, new users have almost doubled as compared to previous months. Google Wallet was launched back in 2011 and saw a slow pace of growth in past three years but saw significant growth in the last couple of months. Google Wallet works in a similar fashion to Apple Pay by providing a virtual payment card on the smartphone.
The main reason behind Google Wallet gaining further traction post Apple Pay launch is that Apple Pay is keeping the NFC POS terminals alive. NFC is a key delivery component of the mobile wallet services by both Google Wallet and Apple Pay. Since Apple Pay is an iOS only mobile wallet service, Android users can look to Google Wallet as the alternative. Moreover, Google Wallet is available for iOS as well.
Apple Pay currently has an active user base primarily in the U.S. with more countries still to follow. Google Wallet already has a global presence and the availability of an active NFC POS terminal base will not only help it to survive but to grow as well. Globally, Android users do exceed iOS users by a significant margin. With Apple Pay promoting the tap-and-pay method of mobile payments heavily, those not having iPhones are still getting more attracted to this method and want to try it first hand. This is where Google Wallet can target significant growth.
Walgreens witnesses growth in in-store NFC payments
Recently, at the Mobile Women to Watch 2015 Summit, a Walgreens executive mentioned that in-store traffic at the chain has doubled since their integration with Apple Pay. Walgreens witnesses 55% of its traffic coming in from mobile. Walgreens also offers a popular rewards program called Balance Rewards, which has 82 million members and enables users to scan their receipts using smartphones to add them to their loyalty accounts.
Walgreens has also integrated its loyalty program with Passbook and has seen its position jump from 66 to 8 in the app store rankings. Walgreens is benefiting from Apple Pay acting as a user friendly mobile application simplifying the user payment experience at Walgreens’ point-of-sale systems. Walgreens had also released a video last month during Apple Pay launch, highlighting that Apple Pay takes only 20-50 seconds to complete transactions.