Updated 09:58 AM EST, Sun, Feb 28, 2021

Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet: Top Features Compared; Which is More Secure?

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Apple introduced it's vision for mobile payments a few weeks ago when it unveiled Apple Pay, which allows iPhone or Apple Watch users to make payments by swiping their phone or smartwatch across a pay terminal. Apple pay uses NFC, or Near Field Communication, in order to make payments on the go, but Google Wallet has been using this same technology for years without anyone paying much attention. Undoubtedly, loyal users of either iOS or Android will want to know which mobile payment service is better. That's why we've broken down the major features of each platform below. 

Payment Process

Apple Pay promises to be as simple as holding your phone near a compatible payment terminal and then either tapping the screen or holding a finger or thumb down on the Touch ID sensor in order to approve a transaction. Google Wallet requires users to unlock their phones and then input their four-digit Google Wallet pin number before they can approve a transaction.

While many Android phones support NFC payments, few users know their phones are capable of making mobile payments. Apple is pushing mobile payments now far more than Google ever did, and that's probably why Apple Pay will bring mobile payments into the mainstream.

Security

Both of these platforms use what is called tokenization, a process used by credit card companies to complete transactions securely. The way it works is by creating a security code that is unique for every transaction, and which is essentially useless outside of completing those individual transactions.

Apple claims their method of tokenization is superior to others because Apple Pay reportedly will not record your transaction history or any other purchase-related info, save for the most recent transactions shown in Passbook. Google Wallet, by comparison, does keep track of user transactions, which some people may not like, though, even Amazon keeps track of what you buy from them.

Hardware

Apple Pay will require users to have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in order to use the service when it launches later this year. However, once the Apple Watch goes on sale next year, users who own one will then be able to use Apple Pay with their watch paired with an iPhone 5, 5c or 5s.

By contrast, Google has included NFC in its Nexus phones since 2010, which means that Android users can have a relatively low cost phone and still make mobile payments. This gives Google Wallet a huge advantage in terms of appeal since it does not require a brand new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 plus in order to make mobile transactions.

Another advantage Google has over Apple here is that Apple has locked the use of NFC on its devices to only work with mobile payments. Google allows for app sharing, file sharing and other phone-to-phone interactions with NFC.

Safer?

Since both platforms use tokenization, it's hard to argue that one is any more secure than the other. The main issue seems to be one of privacy since Apple claims that Apple Pay will not save your purchase history and other sensitive data. Google on the other hand does keep track of what you buy, but so do a lot of online retailers. 

Ultimately, neither platform appears to be enough in and of itself to make Apple or Android users jump ship for the other. But make no mistake, Apple has taken mobile payments from the fringes and thrust it to the forefront of the consumer consciousness. Only time will tell if it stays there. 

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