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Secure Payments Showdown: Apple Pay or Google Wallet?

In the wake of the identity theft epidemic that has included successful attacks on large retailers that affected the security of millions of customers, demand for more secure payment methods has reached an all-time high.

In response, mobile payment solutions have exploded in popularity. These services allow a consumer to pay for purchases at a point of sale by using a item linked with their financial information, eliminating the need to carry cash or credit cards as well as restricting the amount of vulnerable financial data given to retailers. Check out the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 plans at iiNet to find something suitable for your next handset.

One of the latest developments in mobile payments is integration with smartphones. Each of the two most popular smartphone operating systems, Android and iOS, have their own proprietary mobile payments system. The iOS payment application is known as Apple Pay while Android devices use Google Wallet, but each of them operates slightly differently and this can impact the suitability of one or the other for a given user.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is designed for use with all iOS devices that run system version 8 or later, and takes the form of an app that is constantly activated while the phone is powered on, including while the device is on standby. To use Apple Pay, the smartphone owner must simply hold the iPhone over a digital payments scanner before verifying the purchase on their device through thumbprint verification.

Apple Pay’s payment integration system stores the user’s financial data directly on the phone, and although purchases must be verified via thumbprint scan, it is possible for a sufficiently skilled hacker to obtain this information if the phone should be lost or stolen, even without a data connection.

Google Wallet

Google Wallet is compatible with Android phones running version 4.4 and above, and is available on most current generation devices. Unlike with Apple Pay, Google Wallet requires the app be manually opened before the phone is scanned over the mobile payment access point, and the purchase is confirmed when the user enters a preset PIN number.

Google Wallet stores financial information externally in a secure cloud storage utility, reducing the risk of identity theft if the device is lost or stolen. Google Wallet has the added advantage of international availability in a number of countries, although Apple Pay allows limited international transactions as long as the source card or account is US-based.

The two major smartphone-based mobile payments services are similar in form, but differ in function where security is concerned. While Apple Pay offers a higher level of security while the device is in the owner’s possession, Google Wallet’s cloud storage system may yield a higher level of overall security in the long term.

 

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