Report: Samsung closing on Apple in mobile payments, but only 6% of iPhone users access Pay

Samsung Pay has grown faster than Apple Pay since its U.S. launch in September, according to Bloomberg. But mobile payments are still a very long way from seeing mass-market traction.

Bloomberg reports Samsung's mobile wallet has accrued 5 million users and rung up more than $500 million in transactions in the last six months. Google's Android Pay also came online in September and claims 5 million users, while Apple Pay's audience has grown to 12 million users since it launched in October 2014.

Samsung has an edge in mobile payments because its LoopPay technology mimics a traditional magnetic-stripe card when the phone is used with an in-store reader of physical cards. So retailers can use existing point-of-sale equipment to accept Samsung Pay, while Apple Play works only with select NFC retail terminals.

A lack of supporting handsets continues to shackle the market, however. Samsung Pay is supported by only five Galaxy phones, and Apple Pay works only on the iPhone 6 and 6s lines, as well as the Apple Watch paired with an iPhone 5 or more recent model.

But uptake of mobile payments is still meager even among users whose handsets support such services. Crone Consulting LLC estimates that only 6 percent of consumers who can use Apple Pay actually do so, 4 percent of those who own devices that support Samsung Pay use it, and only 1 percent of those who can use Android Pay do.

Mobile payments still hold enormous promise, of course. Eventually, they will help advertisers deliver highly targeted marketing campaigns, providing accurate ROI data based on sales at the retail counter.

But retailers and marketers have yet to give consumers a reason to pay with their phones rather than using credit cards or cash. Even the most efficient mobile payments scheme is no more convenient than traditional payment methods, so marketers must find innovative, creative ways to add value to mobile payments beyond the simple novelty factor.

The mobile payments provider that can give users a reason to pull out their phones at the point of sale -- and that can clearly and simply explain the value proposition to consumers -- will have a huge leg up in a wide-open market.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg report

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