Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

December 17, 2014

Apple Pay Gains Ground with Banks, Samsung Considers Joining the Fray

It's not hard to see how the mobile commerce market has been making gains of late, with several firms getting into the market and more shoppers getting interested in using mobile as a means to replace leaving the house and braving crowds to shop. With some like Omlis' Helmut Okike suggesting that this could prove to be a “mobile Christmas,” the idea of people shopping strictly from mobile devices is no longer as outlandish as it was just months ago. The depth of the market, meanwhile, is shown in two particular points as Apple Pay's perception in the commerce community is looking brighter than ever, and Samsung steps up with potential plans to join the market as well.

The reports suggest that Apple Pay has been gaining significant ground with both banks and credit card providers in the United States, with fully 10 new banks announcing support for the service just two months after its launch. Where formerly, most of Apple Pay's support came from just two titans in the banking industry—Citibank and Bank of America—now, several others have joined in, including Associated Bank, BB&T, Black Hills FCU, Commerce Bank, First Tennessee Bank, TD Bank North America, and several others. What's more, several new retailers have stepped in to offer near-field communications (NFC) payments as well, major retailers like Albertsons, Staples and Winn-Dixie. With these new additions, Apple Pay now works with sufficient numbers of bank cards that it could be part of 90 percent of transactions—by purchase volume—that take place in the United States.

While Apple is staying somewhat mum on the issue of just how well the Apple Pay service is doing, it's so far known that better than one million Apple Pay cards were activated in just the first 72 hours of operation, and early next year, Apple Pay will reportedly be making a push on the European market. But this news is tempered somewhat by reports that Samsung is in talks with LoopPay to bring a kind of “Samsung Pay” service to Samsung devices, a service that may launch in the first half of 2015. The service at last report is said to take full advantage of fingerprint scanner technologies for added security.

Samsung isn't specifically talking about it, but such an idea may serve to polarize large parts of the market. After all, it's pretty well known that Samsung devices are very popular outside North America. Some might question the impact here, particularly if Apple Pay makes a move on the European continent in the next few weeks, but if Apple focuses on Europe and North America, and Samsung focuses on the rest of the world—where its popularity is perhaps greatest—we could be looking at a mobile payments market that looks a lot like the mobile device market. This puts further pressure on CurrentC, which has already been trying to resist Apple Pay's advances. But if CurrentC isn't ready in short order, it may well lose stores a lot of business as customers want to use Apple Pay, yet have no alternative in those stores that would have used CurrentC.

The mobile payments market may be about to be very shaken up in the course of the next few months, and what emerges may not be recognizable compared to today. But only time will tell just where this all winds up, and just what role some of the biggest mobile companies on Earth have to play therein.




Edited by Maurice Nagle




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