View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
October 3, 2014

Top mobile payment technologies

Apple Pay is out soon, but what alternatives already exist?

By Ben Sullivan

Mobile payments are big business. Statistics from Statista show that by 2017, US$721.4bn will be transacted via mobile payments. This is a dramatic increase from the $52bn transacted in 2010.

Despite these figures, however, uptake of mobile payment technology has been slower than expected.

Last year, Gartner cut its mobile transaction forecast, with confusion and incompatability affecting security issues, mobile development and NFC technology itself plaguing the trend. Google has had an NFC-powered payment system in place since 2011, but has failed to see any sort of mainstream success. It’s a fragmented market, and Apple may be the first to really shift mobile payments from a cloud-based platform to touch technology with NFC technology.

Apple Pay

Apple launched its Apple Pay NFC-payment system alongside its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones.

The near-field communication feature allows users to tap their phone against a payment terminal to pay for items at the checkout of a shop, using the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to verify purchases.

Apple CEO Tim Cook used the opportunity to slate methods of payment which use cards, and said: "This whole process is based on this little piece of plastic, whether it’s a credit or debit card. We’re totally reliant on the exposed numbers, and the outdated and vulnerable magnetic interface, which by the way is five decades old, and the security codes which all of us know aren’t so secure."

Users can use the iPhone’s camera to snap a photo of their bank cards, where details will then be added to the Apple Pay service.

Content from our partners
AI is transforming efficiencies and unlocking value for distributors
Collaboration along the entire F&B supply chain can optimise and enhance business
Inside ransomware's hidden costs

Apple Pay is due to be released on October 20th.


PayPal’s mobile wallet can hold all of your card and PayPal financial information, and offers to the ability to pay for items ahead or for services as and when you need, just like the online counterpart.

However, it is clear PayPal wants to play catch-up in the mobile payment space, with the firm being pulled away from eBay to create more opportunity for innovation and profit.

Google Wallet

Google Wallet, using NFC technology, works much the same way as Apple Pay will. However, Google Wallet has been available since 2011 but has not yet seen any outstanding success in the only market it is available in, the US.

Most of the problems that have caused the slow adoption of Google Wallet by the entrprise seem to be data privacy issues. Banks would also have to hand Google shopping and customer data with Google Wallet, a move which Apple has said it will not be doing.


Square, for Apple and Android, allows users to accept credit card payments from mobile devices. A sort of new-age cash register, Square accepts payments, tipping, and can dish out reciepts, inventories, and reports.


Formerly known as Isis, Softcard is a mobile payment app which has recently said that it wants to take advantage of Apple Pay.

CEO for Softcard, Michael Abott, said on a blog post: "We think today’s announcement by Apple to support NFC is very significant and sets the stage for rapid scale adoption of mobile commerce."

The firm is a joint venture between Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.


Visa has announced its aim to make mobile payments more secure than ever before thanks to a new digital token platform.

Visa Token Service will replace sensitive payment account information found on plastic cards with a digital account number or "token".

Because "tokens" do not carry a consumer’s payment account details, such as the 16-digit account number, they can be safely stored by online merchants or on mobile devices to facilitate ecommerce and mobile payments.

Tokens can be limited to specific merchants, mobile devices or types of purchases, with all major mobile platforms supported. If a device is lost or stolen, tokens linked to it can be instantly reissued without changing account numbers or reissuing plastic cards, Visa says.

Visa Token Service will be available to users of several US banks and financial institutions from next month, with a phased overseas roll out starting in other areas from next year.

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.