Forget the unifying standard of Apple Pay—or, for that matter, Google Wallet and the forthcoming Android Pay. It looks like we mobile users will soon be spoiled for choice when it comes to paying for things via our smartphones.
The new mobile payment options I’m highlighting today join the growing list of those already discussed—Uber, SmoothPay, Tab Payments, PayPal, ZenBanx, along with the most popular of them all, the near-ubiquitous Starbucks app. If all this weren’t enough, there are now at least three more options on the way from the likes of OpenTable, Google and Facebook.
Every time you step out of Messenger to open another app—say Google Wallet, PayPal, or Venmo —you stand the risk of getting distracted and doing something else rather than continuing to interact with a Facebook product. This helps alleviate that risk.
The company is currently working on a project that will allow Gmail users to more easily receive bills in their email inbox instead of their mailbox. Called Pony Express, the service also is designed to let people pay their bills within Gmail, rather than having to go to a telecom or utility company’s website to complete a payment.
Your bill in the restaurant’s system is updated that you’ve paid and you leave without having to flag down a waiter to get a check, hand over cash/your credit card, wait for them to make their way back to the register, process your payment, and return to your table with your receipt and/or change. Instead, you pay in the app, walk out, and get your receipt in the mail.
Still missing in all of this is a standardized implementation of tap and pay for Android; an obvious use-case would be an easy entry the NFC-enabled turnstiles of your local transit system—although the craptacular one here in Toronto, Canada isn’t even ready for NFC yet. ಠ_ಠ
Personally, I think that the value of sending money to friends via a mobile app is overstated. And to be honest, walking out of a restaurant without confirming that I’ve paid my bill has so far been extremely awkward.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that more options for mobile payments are becoming available. But the unfortunate truth is that North America still lags far behind other parts of the world when it comes to such innovations.