Google seems to be gathering its wits and energy. It is slowly integrating its payment products like Android Pay and Google Wallet into one solid backend—Google Payments. There’s also been a gradual rebranding as the Google Wallet website has been replaced by the “Payments” name. What this will mean to a Google user is that he or she can now keep track of all the payments connected to their Google account—such as Play, Google Express, Google Fibre, etc.—in one place. Google watchers say that the consolidation process is being done to give its users the power of convenience and ease of transactions. As the Payments site itself states, “One account. All of Google. For your convenience this card will be available to use across all Google properties like Google Play, YouTube, Google Drive, and Google Express, as well as anywhere you see a Buy with Android Pay button on websites and within apps.”
The mobile payments market will be $142 billion in the United States by 2019, according to Forrester Research. This will be almost three times from $52 billion in 2014. This comes as no surprise that the likes of Google and Apple are adding and integrating amenities for their customers to gain a firm foothold in an industry that is poised to become a norm in the foreseeable future.
However, as Google makes concerted efforts to build its new payments business and as the industry evolves by the day and hour, a number of surveys and consumer behaviour assessments have indicated that in spite of the press generated by these app-based pay services, a lot of consumers in the US are still sceptical about paying through their phones or a wearable when it’s just as quick and easy to zip out a credit card or cash. The surveys have also indicated that customers are worried about security and privacy even with NFC systems offering tokenization, which is more secure than magnetic-stripe credit cards by a long way. Another challenge plaguing these services is that only a few retailers support NFC terminals so far, which according to market analysts will take a decade for 90% and more of retail units in the US to install and run.
So why is Google bothering to upgrade, integrate and consolidate its mobile payments business which is still taking small steps into an undecided future? Analysts who have studied this segment say that it’s the inevitability of consumers moving to mobile payments systems in the future. As retailers of all sizes get on board (which Google is aggressively working on), and merchants are offered better benefits in terms of marginal service charges for a payment app over a credit card company’s fees of 2 to 5% per transaction, mobile payments will be the favoured option for sellers. Now, with its focus on payments, Google is closely working with credit card networks, card-issuing banks and payments processors. Retailers too are warming up to the fact that mobile payments products will enhance their loyalty programmes while offering insight into customer shopping habits.