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Apple Pay vs. Google Wallet

Who deserves to handle your digital money?

When Apple Pay debuted on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, a media frenzy erupted and many declared the wallet dead for good. That day, we swear we could hear tens of thousands of Android fans already using Google Wallet roll their eyes. Google was one of the first companies to enter the mobile payment space and Apple is one of the last.

As usual, Apple arrived fashionably late to the party when it deemed NFC technology “ready” to hit the mainstream. Indeed, Apple’s timing could not have been better. Thanks to Google Wallet, PayPal, and mobile payment companies like Square, the general public is very much aware that it’s possible to pay for things with your phone.

Apple streamlined the process to near perfection, thanks to partnerships with major credit cards and banks.

Additionally, a massive law change coming in 2015 will all but require retailers to update their payment terminals to support tap-to-pay with EMV (Chip and PIN) cards. Most merchants – unless they’re being blackmailed by QR-code scanning competitor CurrentC – will probably throw in NFC support when they update their terminals. Within less than a year, most U.S. retailers will support Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Related: Apple Pay Guide: How It Works, Security, Why it Will Succeed

By now, you’ve probably already formed clear opinions about which mobile wallet you prefer and in reality, your choice is predetermined by your operating system: iOS users get Apple Pay and Android users get Google Wallet. The good news is that both systems are very easy to use.

I used both mobile wallets in multiple stores in New York City for a few weeks to get a better idea of how each one works. Here’s a fully detailed comparison of the two services:

Click on a link or continue to the next page:

Next page: Setup is easy for both, but different

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