The battle for mobile payment dominance between Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay just got a little more interesting as US Bank MasterCard members can now use their bank account and card with Android Pay and Samsung Pay platforms. US Bank was one of Android Pay's launch partners, but until now, the only support offered was for their Visa card. Co-branded card sponsors of US Bank – REI and Edward Jones – are now supported as well. This US Bank MasterCard acceptance is for both consumer and business cards.
Clifford Cook, senior vice president for U.S. Bank Retail Payment Solutions said, "Partnering with MasterCard to bring more mobile payment options to our cardmembers helps make it easier for them to try new ways to pay. This is an important step in the continuing evolution of payments and consistent with providing our cardmembers the convenience of making mobile payments with whatever mobile device they choose."
There was an initial surge of excitement over the possibility of making mobile payments for retail purchases; however, the banks and retailers acceptance of the platform, as well as the consumers' desire to use the payment method, must all be working together for them to take off. Banks are reluctant to give any portion of the sale to the mobile payment suppliers and retailers. Even retailers with existing equipment that already works with the payment methods are worried about the change – waving your credit/debit card over a ready is one thing, but a smartphone…it just doesn't seem right to them. However, the good news is that the number of countries and banks accepting mobile payments is growing every day.
Another restriction that lessens as the months pass are the smartphone requirements. Right now, only newer devices can be used for mobile payments – Android Pay comes pre-loaded on most new Android devices and some of the older devices running KitKat (Android 4.4) OS or higher that support NFC can also download the app from the Google Play Store. Newer Samsung flagships also have Samsung Pay preloaded – as newer devices hit the market, so will grow the number of potential users. Someday soon, just like it is now an everyday occurrence to see most people swiping their debit card, we will see people holding their phones out to buy a pack of gum or a new washer/dryer.
Android Pay uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to make its secure mobile payments, while Samsung uses either NFC or Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology. The NFC method is much like the PayWave system where you wave your card over a reader. The NFC chip in your smartphone puts out a signal that the reader interrupts like the signal from your credit or debit card. The MST technology is the older, magnetic stripe readers, where your credit card must be physically swiped against the reader. This difference means that Samsung Pay can be used at almost any retailer that has an older card reader. The day is soon coming when we can leave our wallets at home although many do that now by grabbing their bank card when heading out to shop – soon we won't even need to take our card.