Android Alternatives to Apple Pay in Singapore

Apple Pay is now in full swing operation mode in Singapore. Supporting major VISA/MASTER/AMEX cards and you can pay with your iPhone at any contactless NFC terminal. But what about Android users? Officially, there’s Android Pay, Google’s mobile equivalent to Apple Pay. That is coming, but no specific news on time yet. There are other options available, and already working in Singapore but just have not really taken off in term of traction.

Android Pay

Following Android Pay launch in UK, Google announced that Android Pay will be next available in Singapore and Australia. The launch of Apple Pay will pave the way for Google to make the discussions with the local bank authorities, and hopefully it will be soon rather than end of the year. With Apple having 38% market share in Singapore, there’s a good significant pie for Android Pay. Whether the user demographic is suitable remains to be seen. Typically Apple iPhone users are more affluent, with Android having a range of different user types.

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay is an interesting take on the mobile payment scene. Although I think it tries to be too smart. You can use Samsung Pay in more stores than any other mobile payment service because it supports both MST and NFC. This means that if you can use your credit or debit card, chances are you can use Samsung Pay just as easily. There’s this magnetic emulation technology that allows Samsung Pay to be used beyond contactless terminals. It’s a brilliant technology, but I think it’s not entirely user friendly, and adoption / implementation would slow it down. Currently, Samsung Pay is in beta-testing in Singapore. It is applicable only to selected Samsung models, typically their flagships.

galaxy-s7_samsung-pay_widely1

UOB Mighty

If you have a UOB card and an NFC smartphone, both Apple / Android, you can download the UOB Mighty app and start using it to pay with your phone at any NFC contactless terminal. I think market awareness is currently not high for this. It was launched in Nov 2015. Consumers with an NFC-enabled Android smartphone and a UOB Visa credit or debit card can make contactless payments with tokenised security by tapping their phones at the point of sale. Tokenisation is a method of encrypting a customer’s card payment data on the mobile device to protect sensitive card information. Customers simply have to launch UOB Mighty app, select the ‘Pay’ function, enter a PIN and tap to pay at NFC-enabled terminals in Singapore and overseas.

uob-mighty-app

It’s fast, convenient and I tried it across Fairprice, Cheers, McDonalds, to great convenience. The app is secured with a PIN and if it would support fingerprint recognition, i think that would increase security.

Dash

Dash uses it’s own payment terminal. It’s being promoted by Standard Chartered and I’m starting to see more terminals in Singapore. Would it be able to establish it’s presence? I think it’s going to be difficult. Unlike the alternatives which uses credit card protocols such as Paypass / Paywave, a proprietary protocol means terminals would be limited. The other alternatives not only work in Singapore but also overseas (you would need a data connection though I think), as long as it’s a standard credit card contactless terminal. I mean VISA and MASTERCARD are juggernauts in the payment environment.

So if you have an Android phone, and are jealous of your Apple counterparts having the ability to pay with their phone, well, get a UOB card (the #YOLO card sounds like a right fit), and start paying away.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

Leave a Reply