Apple Pay vs Android Pay – What's the difference?

Both Apple Pay and Android Pay are available in the US. But, what’s the difference between the two? Which one is the most reliable and which one should you use?

The Apple Pay vs Android Pay war has started.

Apple Pay and Android Pay are wireless system payments – the first is for iOS and the second is for, well, Android, as its name states. The Cupertino-based company has a head start over Android. It was first announced way back in September of 2014, when Apple unveiled their iPhone 6 smartphone. Google’s equivalent system was first announced in 2015, during an I/O conference.

First things first. When are they coming out?

Apple Pay is already available for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users. If you own one of the two, you can get rid of your wallet and start paying for cloths, croissants and other goodies with your smartphone. At the moment of writing, Apple Pay is only available in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Note that iPhone 5S owners can also use this mobile payment system if they pair their smartphone with an Apple Watch.

Android Pay is available only on US territory and we don’t know when it’s heading out of the country. Google hasn’t announced any release date for Asia or Europe. There is no competition for Apple Pay or Android Pay, and this means that there’s no incentive to force this new payment system. It could be a while until it spreads across the globe.

How does Apple Pay and Android Pay work?

The biggest issues when it comes to payments is security. How do we know our money won’t be stolen by a hooded hacker?

Apple Pay and Android pay work almost the same way. Neither copies the signal that your debit card emits when you make a contactless payment. What they do, however, is create a virtual credit card that works for that specific transaction, without giving any of your bank account details.

This also means that Apple and Google have to maintain a relationship of trust with banks, since this kind of system is quite new and even different from the contactless method.

The method of communication is NFC – it stands for Near-Field Communication and it has been available for Windows and Android phone users for a few years now. Apple has only recently adopted the NFC tech for their iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones.

What shops will accept Android Pay or Apple Pay?

Depending on the country a user resides in, mobile payment use will be limited – at first. Yet, reports show that both systems can be used in more than 700.000 stores across the US.

In the UK, wherever contactless payment is supported, Android Pay and Apple Pay is too – this also includes the London Underground.

Google has confirmed the following services of accepting Android Pay.

  • Groupon
  • Expedia
  • Travelocity
  • Domino’s
  • Uber
  • Livingsocial

What devices are compatible with Android Pay and Apple Pay?

Considering we’re talking about Apple over here, the company won’t allow anyone else to touch their Pay service. At the current moment, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are the only Apple smartphones that are compatible with the Pay service.

Android’s side is way more accepting. You simply need an Android device – a smartphone or tablet; that has a NFC system built in and is capable of running Android 4.4 Kitkat or upwards.

This means that there are a plethora of devices that are Android Pay capable. It comes down to one question – do you really want to use a tablet for payment? I, personally, don’t see why you shouldn’t. People already use them as full-fledged cameras.

Are both systems secure enough?

During the 2015 I/O conference, Google has confirmed that its Android Pay service won’t transfer any actual data. There’s another layer of protection added by Google – it creates another virtual card and the transaction, basically, is between you and the search engine behemoth.

Both Android Pay and Apple Pay use some sort of fingerprint scanner as an extra layer of protection. It was available at the launch of Apple Pay, and with the new Android Marshmallow, Android Pay will also feature it.

Apple Pay vs Android Pay – which is better?

To be honest, both systems to use the same technology. There’s no winner, there’s just people using different types of phones.

However, Android Pay system seems to take the lead with the inclusion of a ton of mobile phones, as Apple Pay only accepts newer smartphone models.

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