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android pay vs apple pay

Apple Pay vs Android Pay: which is best?

The sight of someone paying for a packet of crisps with their debit card used to be nothing more than a huge irritant for those occupying the mounting queue behind them. Now, with contactless payments being widely adopted by retailers, it is fast becoming the ‘done thing’.

In fact, as long ago as 2014, retailers saw spending via contactless payments more than treble. Are we now living in a truly cashless society? All signs point to that being a reality sooner than you may think.

Apple launched their much-touted Apple Pay platform in the UK last year, and while the sight of consumers paying with their phones on these shores is still relatively rare, the sheer number of Apple Pay-compatible devices flooding the market will most likely bring it out of the woodwork.

Google’s Android has its own version of contactless payment, but it is currently only available in the US. Android Pay is heading our way, though, and if you’re considering a phone upgrade, we recommend taking into consideration the pros and cons of both payment platforms.

Apple Pay

Pros

  • Available in the UK now and already taken up my many leading banks
  • It is incredibly secure due to the way it relies on your fingerprint (via your phone’s Touch ID home button) to authorise payments
  • The Apple Watch is Apple Pay compatible, meaning a swift flick of the wrist near a payment terminal is all you’ll need to do to pay for that packet of crisps
  • Apple doesn’t charge retailers extra fees for accepting Apple Pay so consumers aren’t subsequently hit with inflated prices

Cons

  • You must have an iPhone to use Apple Pay. That may sound obvious, but iPhones are expensive and not everyone wants to be locked into one particular platform
  • Adoption could be slow, given the requirement for an expensive iPhone. Especially as there is an expectation that Apple’s smartphone growth will stagnate in the coming years. Slow adoption at worst could mean a short shelf life for Apple Pay

Android Pay

Pros

  • Just like Apple Pay, Android Pay is very secure and uses a token-based system to protect your credit card details
  • Because it is Android-based, Android Pay is available on a huge variety of phones – many of which fall into the ‘budget’ category. This makes it more accessible for a far wider audience than Apple’s variant

Cons

  • A UK release date is seemingly hard to come by at the moment. Although experts believe we will see it sooner rather than later in 2016
  • Despite having been available in the US for some time, there has been only a marginal uptake of Android Pay by retailers
  • Android has, in the past, been a target for cyber criminals. This is given to the open nature of the operating system. If you neglect to install anti-virus software, your card details could be at risk

Conclusion

Smartphone manufacturers aren’t the only big players launching mobile payment solutions. Barclays recently announced ‘bPay’, which is their answer to the two options above. And that’s the key word – you have options when it comes to mobile payments. Thankfully, switching platforms isn’t particularly difficult, but we’d caution jumping immediately on the Apple bandwagon until Android make their play in the UK.

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