Many of you know a little about Apple Pay that was introduced last fall with the launch of the iPhone 6. While mobile payment was not invented by Apple, neither was a mobile MP3 player. Apple however understands how to make technology cool and work well for most consumers.
Apple Pay changed the dynamics of credit card payment systems by incorporating NFC (Near Field Communication), a token payment system that does not share your actual personal information, and a fingerprint reader for authorizing use at the time of purchase. The system is sophisticated but easy to use. Places like Starbucks, Bloomingdale’s, Peet’s, Chevron, Sports Authority, Whole Foods, Walgreens and Panera use Apple Pay. No matter how slick Apple Pay is however, the iPhone only represents just over 41% of the smartphone market.
Enter Samsung Pay. Samsung, the second place mobile phone company has a 29% market share, is the leading Android smartphone manufacturer. Samsung recently announced Samsung Pay, which will work on the upcoming Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. As with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay will use NFC, tokenization and a fingerprint reader as well. Samsung is also enabling a technology from LoopPay which replicates the magnetic stripe of your credit card so the Samsung Pay will work with more merchants.
While retailers are changing out card readers this year to accommodate the change to smartcard credit cards, a number of credit card devices will take some time to changeover, such as parking meters in many downtown areas. LoopPay should work with these legacy devices. LoopPay will also work with the merchants who have disabled NFC payments, such as Wal-Mart and Target.
The new Samsung Pay option is not replacing Google Wallet, however Google itself is retiring that product with a soon to be expected NFC replacement of their own. You can be certain many other smartphone companies will be releasing phones with NFC chips built in over the next year as well.
What does this mean for ECPs? By offering an NFC payment option, you will be positioning your practice in a more premium light to those who have the money to spend on higher end smartphones as well as higher end eyeglasses and sunglasses.
Daniel Feldman, is CEO of dba designs & communications a marketing firm and a co-founder to the Visionaries Group, an optical consulting firm specializing in helping eye care practices achieve success.