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Square vs. Google Wallet: Who will win the mobile payment war?


Mobile payments — making transactions through a cell phone or other handheld device — have been around for years. In Australia the USA, the industry leader is Square, a company with two powerful allies, Apple and Visa.

Well, run and tell the kids, because the half-ton magillah has just stepped into the ring. In May, Google announced its entry into the mobile-payment battle with Google Wallet.

Oh, it is so on.

The folks at CreditCardFinder put together a nifty graphic that offers a tale of the tape between Square and Google Wallet. Shop and compare (and click on it to see the graphic in full size).

As people become increasingly tethered to their phones, it stands to reason that mobile payments will become more prevalent. It has several advantages over traditional methods (bank accounts, credit cards, etc.)

The primary plus is convenience and use of use, though one could argue that cards off the same thing. Certain types of mobile payments, based on the phone’s account instead of the Internet, don’t require bank accounts. Service providers like the near-instant payments, which cut the risk of bad debt and penalty charges.

On the other hand, even the smartest smartphone doesn’t have the computing power of a desktop or laptop, so you lose a level of functionality. Your mobile carrier may have access to your buying patterns. And as more and more transactions are transmitted through phone networks, the risk or fraud and hackery increases.

There’s also the inevitable battle between phone carriers and among credit card companies, which will fragment and squeeze the mobile-payment market for the foreseeable future. But as confusing of this stage of a emerging technology can be, the heated competition usually spits out some solid winners in the end.

In the meantime, you can take steps to keep your mobile transactions safe. Here’s some advice from an article by Bill Gadja, Visa’s head of mobile products:

  • Use passwords: Use whatever security features your phone can offer — set a password, choose a security question, or activate voice or signature recognition if it’s supported. Keep the passwords in your head; never store them in your phone.
  • Maintain privacy: Don’t share personal information, such as bank details, with any party, especially if they approached you first. Call your carrier or card issuer to confirm if something looks suspicious.
  • Check shortcodes: Mobile carrier shortcodes create a false sense of security. Always take the time to check if incoming messages come from a trusted number.
  • Download with care: Before downloading apps or software, make sure the source is trustworthy. Look up the developer’s name online and read user reviews.

Mobile Payment Systems by Finder.com.au
Produced by Finder.com.au