Mobile Payments

Seven Ways Mobile Payments Made News This Week

As everyone knows, when it comes to igniting mobile payments, there’s no one player, technology or device that’s going to dominate it all.

The rapidly growing field of players, products and innovations shows that it’s still very much anyone’s game. And that’s why, every week, you see new research, new surveys, new product launches and updates on just how well (or, in some cases, not) mobile payments schemes are working.

This week, PYMNTS dug into the nitty-gritty figures of the mobile pay world to bring you news about what’s going on this week from Apple, Google, MasterCard, Samsung and Square. Plus, we’ve got new research from TSYS about consumer payment preferences, including how much mobile payments have been gaining traction.

Catch what happened this week in the world of mobile pay — by the numbers.

3 Million | Number of payment cards consumers in China reportedly activated in the first two days

How well is Apple Pay doing in China? Well, in terms of payment volume, we don’t quite know. But what we do know is that consumers are activating cards.

At least 3 million of them were reportedly activated in just two days after the mobile payment service was available in the region.

China Merchants Bank is just one of the 19 financial institutions involved in Apple Pay’s rollout in China, including the country’s sole debit card network, China UnionPay. So far, Apple has secured the support of the credit card issuers/networks that account for 80 percent of China’s credit/debit cards.

There are also 16 retail chains now supporting Apple Pay in the country, including Starbucks, McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, with many also promoting discounts and offers for consumers who use Apple Pay.

1.5 Million | Number Of registered new users Android Pay is adding each month

Google’s mobile payments ambitions are growing, as it showed yesterday (March 2) with the news about its Hands Free mobile payments option that allows a consumer to pay without having to pull out a credit card or phone at checkout. Instead, the technology uses facial recognition, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to enable the technology.

But Google is still playing the mobile payments field, recognizing that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to getting consumers and merchants on board the mobile pay train. That’s why it’s still focused just as much on its NFC-enabled tap-and-pay option.

Google also revealed some new numbers for Android Pay, which show the service has onboarded 1.5 million new user registrations each month (in the U.S. alone) and now over 2 million locations accept it. Plans are also in the works to expand Android Pay into more countries, stores and apps.

35,000 | The number of public transit trips per day in the U.K. that are now paid for using mobile devices

Why this number really matters, at least for Google, is that Android Pay is planning on launching across the pond soon, reports suggest.

Sources says that Android Pay should be in the U.K. by the end of March. The launch follows a little under six months after the launch of Android Pay in its current instantiation in the U.S. last September. The reported launch, it is worth noting, still remains a rumor, as The Telegraph cited anonymous sources, which are forecasting that Google will announce Android Pay’s British launch by the end of the month.

$15,000 | Prize money associated with MasterCard’s fashion-forward digital payments hackathon

MasterCard is collaborating with The New School’s Parsons School of Design to bring together the worlds of payment technology and fashion in a joint-sponsored Fashion and Design Hack, the company announced Monday (Feb. 29).

The event will feature teams of students competing to develop, build and present connected commerce prototypes that feature embedded payments functionality in their products, new designs or concepts.

“As the world becomes more and more connected, the way consumers interact and transact is transforming,” Sherri Haymond, MasterCard’s SVP of digital payments and labs, said.

Three teams of Parsons design students were selected to participate in the Fashion and Design Hack and will compete for $15,000 in prize money and the chance to present their creations at MasterCard industry events. MasterCard said the engagement with Parsons will help to push forward its vision to “bring to consumers a new generation of connected commerce experiences.”

86 | Percent of consumers that rely on their mobile devices to view their bank account balance

Mobile wallets and contactless payments are gaining traction, but the results from the 2015 U.S. Consumer Payment Choice Study, conducted by TSYS, show that debit cards still dominate.

While the past two years of the study have shown a steady decline in the percentage of consumers who opt for using their debit card above all else, the payment method is still a favorite among 41 percent of the study’s respondents.

But can slow-but-steady growth win the payments race? After all, mobile is making traction. When it comes to banking apps in particular, nearly 86 percent of consumers rely on their mobile devices to view their balance and 70 percent opt for mobile to verify recent transactions. As more consumers become comfortable with the idea of using mobile technology for these types of financial tasks, TSYS said it could act as a gateway to increased mobile payment adoption as well.

“We’ve seen very steady growth in interest levels there,” Sarah Hartman, senior director of payment solutions at TSYS, told MPD CEO Karen Webster recently while discussing consumers’ increased attention on the mobile space.

Hartman added that while it started with just using mobile for things like checking balances and looking at websites, the study has shown a greater shift toward utilizing mobile devices for payments.

70 | Number of banks that now support Samsung Pay

Wells Fargo announced this week it had finalized a deal with Samsung that would allow the bank’s U.S. customers to pay for purchases at any retailer that accepts Samsung Pay.

Jim Smith, head of virtual channels at Wells Fargo, explained that Samsung’s platform offers the best measure of convenience for his company’s customers.

“We are thrilled today to participate in Samsung Pay and to continue to provide Wells Fargo customers with convenient mobile payment options,” Smith said. “We want to satisfy our customers’ financial needs when, where and how they want, and allowing them to pay from a mobile wallet with features like Samsung Pay helps us fulfill that promise.”

In Samsung’s own announcement, Head of Research and Development Injong Rhee noted that the partnership comes at an opportune time for both groups. After roughly six months of deployment in South Korea and the U.S., 5 million users conducted more than $500 million in transactions. Moreover, the addition of Wells Fargo means that Samsung Pay now processes payments from 70 percent of the U.S. credit and debit card industry.

3 | Percentage of Square Cash users that pay to send money using a credit card from Square Cash Drawer

Square is bringing new functionality to its Square Cash P2P payments app and is now allowing users to store money alongside the extant ability to send money to recipients. This feature is known as Cash Drawer, which enables users to “stash cash they receive directly in the app.”

In addition, users can add funds from their own bank accounts. The end result, Square said, is “making it easier to set aside funds” for costs that can range from dinners to weightier expenses, such as rent payments. The app keeps all Square payments in one place, and the funds can be accessed through selecting a button denoted as “Cash Out,” which then transfers stored funds to an end user’s bank account.

Within the next several weeks, there will exist the ability to access both the Cash Drawer and to bring the Add Cash function live as well, in essence moving closer toward digital wallet functionality.

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