Google Wallet’s fortunes rise as Apple Pay spreads the gospel of mobile payments

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Google may have introduced its mobile wallet first, but Apple is the one spreading the gospel of mobile payments. Apple Pay was more or less an overnight success, with 1 million people activating the service in just 72 hours. The average Joe might not have been among their number, but he certainly heard about it. Google Wallet’s problem wasn’t that its app isn’t good or doesn’t work well, but that almost nobody knew about it.

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That doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore, as advertisements for Apple Pay sprung up overnight on nearly all of the major banks’ websites and the mainstream media buzzed enthusiastically about the death of the wallet. Countless stores advertise their support of Apple Pay, too and more people are taking notice. In light of all the hullabaloo surrounding Apple Pay, it seems that Android users are taking a second look at Google Wallet.

An unnamed source who’s familiar with mobile wallet usage statistics told Ars Technica that weekly transactions made with Google Wallet have increased by 50 percent, and the number of new users has doubled in the past few months. Although there’s no clear evidence that Apple Pay is responsible for these huge increases, there’s no denying the correlation. Apple Pay was first announced a couple of months ago in September and then released in October. In between the announcement and the release, Apple and its partners spread the word about mobile payments far and wide. Meanwhile, retailers prepped employees on how NFC-based payments work, so that they’d be ready for the incoming flood of Apple fans and tech journalists.

It seems very likely that Android users revisited Google Wallet after hearing so much about mobile payments from the media and found out just how well it works. Google also introduced a new, fresh design and more useful features to Wallet shortly after Apple Pay arrived on the scene. Google Wallet has never looked better, nor have stores and customers ever been so receptive to the idea of mobile payments. It looks like Apple Pay may have kicked down the door and let Google Wallet in at its side.

Even so, the road ahead is long for mobile payments. A recent study from digital commerce solutions provider Avangate says that 48 percent of Americans still have never bought something with their phones and 40 percent are leery of storing such sensitive information on their phones, lest retailers or thieves gain access to it.

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