Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is waging serious war on the wallet with its launch of the Apple Pay service in a bid to transfer payments from your wallets to your phones. The Apple Pay service was launched in October 2014 in the US and it allows users to make payments from their iPhones and Apple Watches.
The Apple Pay service is a bid to promote contactless payment terminals and make payments easier and more secure for users. However, Apple is not likely to have the whole pie of payment systems to itself as Alibaba’s AliPay is hot on its heels.
9to5 Macs’s Mark Gurnam has revealed that Apple is moving ahead with the push for the widespread adoption of Apple Pay in Europe. Gurnam claims to have gotten an internal memo detailing Apple’s plan to launch its mobile payment service in the UK from July 14.
Apple Pay Expansion Plans
The launch of Apple Pay in the UK is part of a grand scheme by Apple to take on and rewrite how payment processing is done globally. The UK launch of Apple Pay was announced in June and the plan is already becoming real after one month. Rumor also has it that Apple has plans to launch the service in Canada later this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in talks with the six biggest banks in Canada in order to explore the possibility of a November launch.
Apple is already targeting the Chinese market as Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted during a trip to the firm’s China headquarters in May. According to Tim Cook, “I think we’ve made progress [on Apple Pay for China]… there’s different people and different banks involved.”
Samsung announced last month that it would include Samsung Pay on its smart phones released in September in Korea and the US. The system will be launched in China some time after that. Samsung has a huge install base in China and may be able to use that market power in order to get ahead of the firm in the country.
Apple’s control over the high end of the smartphone market will make it a valuable player in the Chinese market, but once it’s ready to get into the business it may be approaching a saturated market.
Alibaba’s AliPay Bringing the War to Apple’s Doorstep
While Apple is going about with expansion plans for its Apple Pay service, Alibaba has a target on Apple’s back with a listing of its AliPay service in the U.S. Alvin Ybanez of Yibada says that Alipay has set its sights on the U.S. market in a bid to establish itself as an industry leader. The United States is the center of the global economy but Alipay is still a regional third-party payment processor.
Debuting Alipay in the U.S. will allow the service to kick off on a global scale. For one, Alipay already has more than 350 million users (more than PayPal). Secondly, AliPay’s 350 million users are from a manufacturing-centric economy the appeal of American-made goods can propel the service into dominance on both ends of the world.
Who Will Win the Wallet Wars?
PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and AliPay are all in a combined war on the wallets. It is still too early to predict who will emerge as the ultimate victor. The possibilities that the players might form allies are high. In fact, the possibility of an Apple-Alipay partnership and Google-PayPal buyout are still there. In the long run, the losers will be traditional payment systems and the winners will be consumers who will have speed, ease, and less transaction costs on payments.
Update 11:31 EST: Added pars on Samsung Pay service set to be launched later on in 2015.