Who’s playing the mobile payments game?

Image courtesy of Cybertill

Image courtesy of Cybertill

Retail is one of six markets currently competing in the mobile payments game. Financial institutions, Wireless network providers, Mobile payment services, Traditional payment services and Device makers, join Retailers to make up the six players.

According to Appinions Inc. a Manhattan-based startup that provides influence-marketing services, Apple is in the top spot as reported by its Digital Mobile Payments Influence Study. We may well see a mobile wallet from Apple in the next month or so, in line with the launch of iPhone 6; Apple is also encouraging retailers to adopt its iBeacons, which could potentially be used as part of a payments service.

“The mobile payments space is evolving rapidly and both startups and industry giants are working hard to establish their leadership.” said Larry Levy, Founder and CEO of Appinions Inc. “It’s interesting how diverse the influential players are – including technology companies, retailers, financial companies, and wireless firms. It reflects the huge opportunity and fundamental role payment plays in our economy.”

The leaders of the six different markets that are influencing mobile payments are: Financial institutions – with Bank of Beijing (China) as lead, Retailers and services – with Open Table as lead, Wireless network providers – with Verizon, Mobile payment services – with PayPal as lead, Traditional payment services – with Mastercard as lead, and Device makers – with Apple as lead in its group and all six markets.

The top ten overall spots go to: Apple, PayPal, OpenTable, Starbucks, MasterCard, Amazon, eBay, Google, Bank of Beijing (China) and Verizon.

Meanwhile Amazon, which comes in third in the Retail market influence poll and sixth overall, has joined the mobile payments market with its own competitive payment product for merchants.

Currently only launched in the US, Amazon Local Register can be used to take card payments on both iOS and Android mobile devices as well as on Amazon’s own fire range. Its payment per swipe fee of 1.75% is set to rival other similar payment providers like Square, PayPal and iZettle who are charging more. Although this low fee is only a limited offer, Amazon’s standard fee of 2.5% is still one of the lowest on the market. In addition Amazon will refund the $10 cost of the card reader that merchants have to pay up front by refunding the first $10 worth of fees. Those signing up for the service can also opt for a bundle deal which comes in a $380 and includes the Amazon Kindle Fire which can be used a point of sale device.

“From clothing stores to contractors, food trucks to accountants, businesses and organisations using Amazon Local Register will enjoy industry-leading low rates, trusted and secure payment processing, and access to award-winning customer support,” said Matt Swann, vice president of Amazon Local Commerce.

Meanwhile others in the industry are questioning Amazon’s motives and encourage retailers to think before signing up: “Do you really want to give a huge competitor access to your sales data?” asked retail consultant Max Goldberg. “This is the question that retailers should ask before adopting Amazon’s Local Register. This is a smart move by Amazon. It gets a brief float on all funds it processes, but more importantly, it gets a new source of valuable data which it can use to sell more products to consumers.”

What are some of Amazon’s true mobile payment competitors offering?

Pay Pal

  • Devices: Works with iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones.
  • Signal: Online.
  • Payment types: Accept debit and credit cards as well as PayPal, log cash and cheque payments. Chip and PIN, chip and signature, and swipe and signature.
  • Fees: Pay a one-off fee of £69.95 for your card reader which works alongside Pay Pal’s free app.
    Pay 2.75% for every payment you accept with Chip and PIN cards or PayPal. Pay 3.40% + 20p for card payments made by swiping the magnetic strip or manually entering the card details.
  • Payments: Transactions go to your central PayPal account. You can then transfer your money to your bank or spend it online direct from your PayPal account.
  • Receipts: Send receipts to your customers by email or SMS.
  • Limitations: Not available for Android tablets.


  • Devices: Works with iOS and Android mobile devices
  • Signal: Use while offline and online.
  • Payment types: Accepts all major payment cards. Swipe and signature only.
  • Fees: Square’s card reader comes free of charge and works alongside its free Register app.
    Pay 2.75% per swipe for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Or, manually enter card information and pay 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.
  • Payments: Transactions reach your bank account within two business days.
  • Receipts: Send receipts via email or text message, or connect a receipt printer to an iPad.
  • Limitations: No chip and pin payment option.


  • Devices: Works with iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.
  • Signal: Online.
  • Payment types: Cash and all major payment cards. Chip and PIN, chip and signature, and swipe and signature.
  • Fees: iZettle Chip & PIN reader costs £59.00 and works alongside the free app. Smart Rate automatically reduces your transaction fees based on your monthly sales – starting at 2.75% and dropping to as little as 1.50% per transaction. MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express manual card payments 3.5% + 10p.
  • Payments: Transactions will be credited to your bank account within 7-10 days.
  • Receipts: Send receipts to your customers by email or print them.
  • Limitations: Varying transaction limits may initially be confusing. Doesn’t support tips.

Appinions’ Digital Mobile Payments Influence Study recognises PayPal as the leading influence for payment technology vendors, reporting it to twice as influential as MasterCard. Well known startup players in the payments market like Square have earned less than 10% of the influence of PayPal. However, the data also revealed that while Square ranks 7th among influential core mobile payment tech companies showing only about 4% of the influence of Paypal, it is actually getting a vast share of the conversation from influencers about mobile payments with 90% as much attention as Paypal.