In its much-hyped keynote press event on Tuesday, Apple unveiled its payment system of the future: Apple Pay. Utilising a proprietary NFC protocol, Apple has created a system which allows for quick and easy payments, as simple as just waving a device. Indeed, if you look at Apple’s stock price fluctuations, this was the most important announcement at the event, at least in the eyes of investors - and for good reason. Apple Pay has the potential to revolutionize how we make digital payments, but in doing so it may kill several startups which have been themselves trying hard to make headway in this field.
1. Level Up (SCVNGR)
Level Up is a mobile payments platform owned by start up SCVNGR. It utilises QR codes which are securely linked to a predetermined credit or debit card in order to make simple payments. While this technology is innovative, it has seen only limited use within the US to this date, and will find it hard to compete with the massive commercial networking available to Apple for its Apple Pay system.
Paydiant aims rather than to create a mobile payment system of its own, to aid other companies in building their own mobile payments system, based on Paydiant’s software. While it has dismissed Apple Pay as being a limited threat to its business, the company nonetheless could see itself squeezed out of the market if Apple controls not just the hardware and the payments system, but also the proprietary software.
Loop is an NFC payments system which is in many ways similar to Apple Pay. The difference is that it required a specialized loop accessory to be bought in order to enable the use of the system. Unfortunately for this company, Apple’s new payment system on the other hand integrates with the iPhone and Apple Watch, devices which a significant number of customers will already have, making it unlikely that they will shell out the additional cost to be part of loop.
Coin is described as a ‘smart card’ by its makers. Its main function is to eliminate the need for a user to hold many different credit cards, and instead hold them in one device. This will be seriously challenged by Apple Pay which allows a user to easily upload their credit card data to a user’s account, and would not require them to buy a separate device like the Coin smart card.
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