Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Apple Pay vs Google Wallet

Apple released Apple Pay yesterday with the iOS 8.1 update.  Randy and I went out at lunch to try it out and compare it to Google Wallet on his OnePlus One Android Phone.  We visited three locations: Maverik, McDonald's, and Macey's Grocery.  Both phones were able to make payments without any network connection however the Airplane mode on the OnePlus One also shut off the NFC radio.  The iPhone 6+ was able to pay even in Airplane mode.

Here are the steps to pay on the two phones:

Apple Pay
NFC Payments
  • Place the iPhone up to the payment terminal
  • Use Touch ID to authorize
  • Done
Google Wallet
  • Unlock your phone
  • Place your Phone up to the payment terminal
  • Enter your 4 digit Google Wallet PIN
  • Done

The steps above look about the same but what isn't mentioned there is it took a while to figure out how to make Google Wallet work.  If I were to write the steps it took the very first time we tried Google Wallet they would look like this:

Google Wallet (the first time)
  • Place the Phone up to the payment terminal
  • Wake the phone up and then try again
  • Unlock the phone and try again
  • Wave it around for a little bit hoping the people behind are not getting too upset
  • After a few seconds, finally enter your PIN in Google Wallet to unlock it
  • When no network is available, get a confusing message that sounds like the payment didn't work when in reality it did.  It was trying to tell you it cannot show the details yet because you are not connected, but it sounds more like the payment failed.
What's the point?

You may ask why even bother with the stuff?  Why is this easier than just using my credit card?  Last week I was mailed new credit cards.  I didn't ask for them but they were issued along with a letter about how Home Depot was compromised and these cards were sent to protect me.  Had I been using Apple Pay or Google Wallet every time I went to Home Depot, it wouldn't have mattered.

When you set up a credit card in Apple Pay a unique card number is generated that will only work with that iPhone, and only with your finger print.  When you shop at a store, the only number they get is the one generated for your phone.  To use that number someone would have to have your phone and your finger print.  When Home Depot or Target are compromised in the future, no useful information will exist on their insecure systems.

Look for the NFC Payments logo (above) and it's likely that you'll be able to pay using Apple Pay or Google Wallet.

-- Just a quick followup...  We went to lunch today at JCW's.  They had the NFC Payments symbol.  I was able to pay with Apple Pay.  Randy tried with Google Wallet and it wouldn't work.

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