Mobile Payment Showdown: Google Pay vs. Apple Pay vs. Samsung Pay

A person paying for coffee with a smart phone.

Mobile payment apps are steadily becoming more mainstream. Due to technology such as Near Field Communication (NFC), modern smartphones are now capable of replacing credit and debit cards for quick, contactless payments.

In this article, we discuss the primary options available for mobile payment applications. More importantly, we’ll also compare how they stack up to each other.

An Introduction to Mobile Payment Solutions

Making payments through your smart device is a modern solution to an age-old problem: how to travel safely and light while still enabling you to make purchases. Your device, along with NFC technology, holds the key.

An app on your phone detects a pay point, usually a contactless card reader, and much like PIN-free card payments, processes the transaction. The payment is usually made immediately, and you’ll be able to see your transaction history through an app on your device.

For advocates, the ability to pay for items on a cash- and card-free basis is a dream come true. However, for critics, security and financial concerns are at the forefront. Regardless, mobile payment solutions are here to stay, and the technology will only improve over time.

Mobile Payment Showdown: Google Pay vs. Apple Pay vs. Samsung Pay

There are currently three major contenders when it comes to mobile payment solutions. The options are presented in no particular order. Let’s take a look!

1. G Pay

Formally known as Android Pay and Pay by Google, G Pay is the search giant’s approach to making mobile payments. It lets you purchase at selected retailers and online stores. In practical terms, though, this is pretty much everywhere.

The G Pay home page.

It’s an Android-exclusive device, naturally, and you’ll need the official app to access G Pay.

Key Features:

  • Compatible with practically all Android devices that support NFC.
  • Using it requires installing an app that is only available on Android devices.
  • Supports a huge number of retailers in the “millions.”

Summary: Overall, G Pay is the mobile payment option for Android Users. The good news is that the functionality is sound, and most of the time, it just works, although setup takes longer than some other mobile payment systems.

2. Apple Pay

Apple Pay was one of the first mobile payment solutions on the market. As you’d expect, it’s slick and provides similar features to the competition.

The Apple Pay home page.

Apple is well-known for its inter-operability, and its mobile payment service doesn’t disappoint. For example, you can pay for purchases within macOS Safari and send money to others through the Messages app.

What’s more, you’re able to link the service to your Apple Watch and Apple Card. On the whole, it’s tightly-integrated and feels natural to use.

Key Features:

  • Compatible with iPhones that support NFC and fingerprint sensors (i.e. version six and upwards).
  • Connects with the Apple Watch for a sleek checkout experience.
  • Lets you pay at practically any retailer and integrates well with macOS.
  • Your initial outlay is greater than other solutions, given the steeper price of Apple devices.

Summary: On the whole, Apple Pay has a foothold due to its length of time on the market. This means you’ll be able to make payments regardless of the retailer.

3. Samsung Pay

Our final mobile payment solution is arguably the least known of the three in this list. However, Samsung Pay pre-dates G Pay and has a lot of grunt under the hood.

The Samsung Pay home page.

For example, you can add credit, debit, and loyalty cards to your digital wallet (although this is present in other solutions too). It’s also able to integrate with selected Samsung watches.

What’s more, with the Samsung Pay Card, you only need to use the one gateway to purchase items. In addition, if you make a payment with the wrong card, you can transfer amounts among your registered accounts.

Key Features:

  • Offers powerful security options powered by Curve.
  • Works with any retailer that accepts contactless payments. This offers greater flexibility than other vendors.
  • Samsung provides a cashback rewards scheme when you use Samsung Pay, a unique Samsung feature.
  • Samsung devices can be pricey. As with Apple, the initial outlay could be expensive.

Summary: Overall, Samsung Pay offers strong security and arguably greater flexibility than the other mobile payment providers on this list. As such, it’s a “dark horse” among vendors, especially if you own a Samsung device.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, mobile payment solutions enable us to live our lives with nothing but a smart device on hand. A few years ago there were bugs to iron out and feature differences to contend with. However, now you’ll find the various mobile payment vendors close in functionality.

Meanwhile, you can make use of G Pay to track your spending and help you budget your money.

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Tom Rankin Tom Rankin

Tom Rankin is a quality content writer for WordPress, tech, and small businesses. When he's not putting fingers to keyboard, he can be found taking photographs, writing music, playing computer games, and talking in the third-person.

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