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Mobile Payment Apps: A Quick Review of Market Leaders

Keeping your wallet at home at paying with a single tap on your mobile device is the new reality.

The required technology for the implementation of mobile payment in stores has been around for a couple of years now. In this relatively short period, many mobile payment apps tried to secure themselves a significant share of the market and many failed.
Now it seems that Google and Apple will soon battle over who takes the lead, but for now there are various mobile payment apps that you can download and use, each with its own unique set of advantages.

The Short History of Mobile Payment Apps

Some apps have been re-branded, others have been re-purposed and even those that kept on going took a couple of turns.

Currently, the apps left standing are those mobile payment apps that, not surprisingly, belong to mega companies such as Google, Apple, PayPal and MasterCard.

It’s hard to point to just one reason why this market looks the way it does, which is, to put it mildly, a bit chaotic. Examples of this chaos include individual merchants that offer their own mobile payment apps (like Groupon and Starbucks), innovative yet eyebrow raising solutions like the bump-pay (bump your phone with another’s to transfer funds) and expensive hardware products like loop pay, which is a device that connects to your phone and allows you to pay with a single wave.

Mobile Payment Apps Today

Currently existing smartphone apps aim to replace your wallet and allow you to keep your credit card at home (as well as debit cards, gift cards and various other cards). However, there is a chance that you can’t choose your favorite option, because some apps have limited availability. Apple Pay is only available to iPhone 6 owners (or more advanced versions) and SoftCard is only available if you are an AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile customer.

While chances are, as this market matures, leading apps will expand their reach and each user will have more options, for now it is still required to make sure that you CAN actually download the that you WANT (and also check which stores will accept it).

Google Wallet

  • Available both for Android and iOS users
  • Only available in The U.S
  • Can only be used with U.S issued credit cards

Apple Pay

  • Only available for iPhone 6 users (or above)
  • Only available in The U.S
  • Can only be used with U.S issued credit cards

PayPal Mobile

  • Available both for Android and iOS users
  • Available in the U.S and an additional limited number of countries
  • Requires having a PayPal account

SoftCard (formerly Isis)

Only available for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile customers
Requires an enhanced SIM card and a compatible smartphone (you can check if your SIM and smartphone qualify at the GoSoftCard site)

If you don’t like all the restrictions and limitations posed by the leading mobile payment apps, you can opt to download some smaller apps, that are trying to gain customers and don’t have that many restrictions, like CurrentC (at


This app is formed by merchants, so it offers coupons and discounts when you use it, that aren’t otherwise available. You can use personal checking accounts, a variety of credit cards (the list is growing) and gift cards to pay.

Jason Gardiner

Tech savvy from Chicago that enjoys life!