Android Pay vs Apple Pay: Which is better?

Google launched Android Pay earlier today in response to Apple's hugely successful venture in the UK contactless payments market. But is Android Pay good enough to rival Apple Pay and will it be successful in establishing Android's superiority over iOS devices for good?

We take a look at Android Pay, its features and functionalities and how it is different from Apple Pay which has been used by iOS device owners quite frequently since it launch in the UK in July last year.

Transaction limits

When Apple Pay was launched, iPhone users could only spend a maximum of £20 for every transaction but it was subsequently raised to £30 in September of last year. Like Apple Pay, Android Pay also comes with a £30 transaction limit but that is only limited to cases where you wish to make payments without unlocking your phone. Android Pay will let you pay in excess of £30 but for that you will have to go through authentication procedures which involve security pin, fingerprint or patterns.

Partnered banks

As of now, Apple Pay enjoys a comfortable lead over Android Pay when it comes to partnership with regional banks. Since more banks mean more customers, Apple Pay may continue its lead over Android Pay in terms of overall number of users at least for the next few months.

Both Apple Pay and Android Pay work with services like Visa and MasterCard but Apple pay works with American Express as well which the latter doesn't. Apple Pay currently holds partnerships with banks like Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, HSBC, TSB, Tesco Bank, Nationwide, American Express, First Direct, NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank while Android Pay has partnered with fewer banks namely Lloyds, HSBC, MBNA, Bank of Scotland, Nationwide and First Direct. Apple Pay clinches the competition here as popular banks like Barclays and NetWest are yet to sign up to support Android Pay.

Supported devices

Apple Pay can be used on iOS devices like iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and the recently launched iPhone SE. A number of new iPads with NFC built-in will also be able to run Apple Pay. However, Android Pay will run on devices running Android 4.4 KitKat or later versions which means you can use the payment app on Android phones which you purchased over two years ago. Given that there are very few devices which run on older Android platforms, a vast majority of Android phone users now have the opportunity to make contactless payments for their purchases.

Security

Even though both Android Pay and Apple Pay involve themselves with sensitive information like credit and debit card details and bank account numbers, their security structures are quite solid. Both payment apps use digital tokens to make payments which do not contain any sensitive banking information. This means it is virtually impossible for hackers to lay their hands on bank account information or to perform fraudulent transactions using Apple Pay or Android Pay. Both systems also use two-factor authentication mechanisms including fingerprint sensors to authorize transactions and thus ensure that users have complete control over transactions that occur through these apps.

So who's the winner?

Both Android Pay and Apple Pay are based on similar technologies and have similar intentions which makes it tough for one to separate them in terms of performance or functionality. While Android Pay offers users the option of making payments in excess of £30, Apple Pay enjoys superiority in terms of number of partner banks. However, Android Pay has only arrived today and we should allow it more time to see if its performance will remain as consistent and risk-free as Apple Pay has proved in the last ten months. The battle ahead will surely be a nail-biting one.

2Comments

  1. Guest
    Guest22nd May 2016

    The ability to pay more than £30 is quite limited, since many retailer's devices automatically don't allow contactless when the total is >£30. Presume...

  2. Guest
    Guest19th May 2016

    Neither can be viewed as acceptable so long as biometrics are involved. It is now getting known that the authentication by biometrics usually comes...

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