While paying with your phone seems to be all the rage these days, the practice is still very much in its infancy. While we may wonder if it is really more convenient to whip out your phone instead of your credit card, Apple, Google, and Samsung seem to think so. And now, one major retailer wants to get in on the action as well.
Almost a year ago we reported that Target Corp. was developing its own mobile payment solution, citing a report from Reuters. Now, it seems as though we’re getting closer to a launch of the new platform, with a new report from Reuters claiming that Target plans on officially launching Target Pay in 2017. According to the report, Target declined to give a specific time frame for the release beyond “this year.”
The system will likely be similar to Walmart’s payment option, which is called Walmart Pay. Customers only need to install the Walmart app on their Android or iOS phone and add a credit card to it in order to make payments with their phone. Target’s version will also use an app, and there’s a good chance it could become part of the current Target Cartwheel app.
This has to be a huge blow to Apple, Google, and Samsung, who have mobile payment solutions already. Apple Pay and Android Pay require near field communications (NFC), while Samsung Pay can be used on virtually any credit card terminal without NFC because it emulates an actual physical card swipe using LoopPay technology. Walmart’s, and likely Target’s, solution is to display a barcode on the phone that will be scanned at checkout. NFC isn’t required in either solution.
The major problem with Target and Walmart entering the mobile payment game is the added confusion for consumers. Mobile payments are supposed to simplify things, not complicate them. Consumers want to use one app for all their purchases, not two or three.
To further add confusion, both Target and Walmart are part of CurrentC, which is a group of retailers planning to launch its own mobile payment solution as well. Both companies remain committed to the group, but it appears that its development process is moving slower than Target and Walmart would like.
The unfortunate part of all this is that Target and Walmart don’t accept Apple Pay or Android Pay, so consumers will be forced to open a separate app when shopping in those stores.
Samsung Pay, on the other hand, seems to have the leg up since it can be used on most credit card readers, even if the store doesn’t officially accept mobile payments. And that includes both Target and Walmart.
Are you using your smartphone to make payments? If so what app are you using and do you find it any more convenient than using a simple old-fashioned credit card?
Updated on 01-25-2017 by Christian de Looper: Added report that Target Pay would be launched “this year.”