Mobile payment apps are becoming increasingly popular today because they are easier to use and more secure than carrying physical cash and cards in your wallet.
By keeping all of your rewards cards, coupons, credit and debit cards in the app, making purchases becomes a simple click-and-pay process, so you don’t have to search for your wallet every time.
The two most popular apps are Apple Wallet and Google Pay (formerly Android Pay), both of which work with newer smartphones. They perform almost the same function, although they differ slightly in their strengths and weaknesses. But which Pay app should you use?
We take two mobile wallets side by side to find out how they work and which one is best for you.
Apple Wallet offers an easy-to-use, private and secure electronic payment service for iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple Watch users. Once you add your credit, debit or prepaid card to the app on your preferred iOS device, you can start using it right away.
The app is retail compatible with PayPass technology, so you can store loyalty cards and even accumulate loyalty points, rewards and benefits as you use them.
In-store, you can pay for purchases at merchants with compatible POS systems or cash register card readers with just a quick press of the side button on your watch or by saving your fingerprint. That way, you don’t have to enter the security code on your card or check its expiration date, because all your information is stored on your device.
When you shop, each transaction requires authentication with your passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID for all iOS devices except Apple Watch, which is protected by a unique passcode. Transaction information is not stored anywhere, but your receipts are stored in the app. In addition, if your device is stolen or lost, you can permanently suspend or remove the ability to pay from it.
You can also send or receive money with Apple Pay through messages, or you can ask Siri to pay someone from your debit or credit card saved in the app. If you want to use the money you receive right away, you’ll find it on your Apple Pay Cash card in Wallet. You can also transfer money to your bank account from your Apple Pay Cash card.
Wallet is accepted at a variety of locations including BabiesRU, KFC, Starbucks, PetSmart, JetBlue, Champs, Ace Hardware, transit systems, and apps and sites like Chipotle, Lyft, Jet, Etsy, Staples, and Ticketmaster.
If you want to donate to charity, you can use the app to donate to the American Red Cross, UNICEF, Feeding America, and more.
Google Pay, or informally GPay, is a mobile wallet from Google that has combined its consumer payment products – Google Wallet and Android Pay – into a single, unified service. It makes it easy for users to add most of their cards, such as loyalty, gift, credit and debit cards, for easy payments and faster checkout with peace of mind.
If you have a compatible device, you’ll see Google Pay in-store when you pay or send money, online, and in Google products.
The app uses in-store NFC technology to transfer your credit card information between the merchant’s card reader and your mobile phone. Simply hold your phone up to the card reader and the transaction is a breeze.
If you’ve saved loyalty cards or gift cards, credit cards, and debit cards in your Google Wallet or Android Pay app, you can use them as usual without adding them to Google Pay again. You won’t even need to add another app to use it. All it does is automatically update your device to display the title in the app.
For most users of mobile payment apps, security is always a top concern due to the nature of the financial information provided in the app. Google Pay manages this by using a virtual account number that stores your personal information on your phone, instead of using your actual credit card number and other sensitive data.
When you make a purchase, Google sends you a security code to confirm the transaction. Unlike Apple Wallet, GPay doesn’t require fingerprint authentication unless you want to unlock the screen, but works with a PIN, password or pattern. If you lose your phone or it’s stolen, you can lock it and create a new password, or wipe it completely until you recover it.
If all you want to do is send money to family and friends, you can try Google Pay Send, which is specifically designed for peer-to-peer transactions.
Google Pay works with Android apps from several e-commerce companies, including Best Buy, Airbnb, McDonald’s, Chevron, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Houzz, Kayak, Instacart, and more. The list is growing.
Which is better – Apple Wallet or Google Pay?
Choosing between Apple Wallet and Google Pay shouldn’t be an easy decision. As you might have guessed based on the app names, Apple Wallet works with iPhones, while Google Pay is built for Android phones.
Both payment apps allow you to authenticate payments using normal phone unlocking methods. For Apple Wallet, you can use a password, fingerprint, Face ID, or Touch ID, while Google Pay works when your phone is unlocked with a password, pattern, PIN, or fingerprint.
What sets Apple Pay apart is that it supports online purchases through the Safari browser, while Google Pay integrates with other Google services, so you can make transactions in Gmail, Android Messages, Google Home, and more. However, if you have a Samsung device, you’ll have the option to use Samsung Pay or Google Pay, either of which you’ll need to set as your default Pay app.
So your choice will depend entirely on the device you own, in which case you can use the Pay option as an added convenience.