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Mobile Payment in Europe

posted by N26 • Product • March 30, 2016

Last week Google announced the launch of  Android Pay in the UK, and a few weeks ago Apple promised its mobile payment solution to French users in 2016. Will Europeans all across the continent soon be paying with their smartphones?

Whenever we need to pay at a cashier in a shop or supermarket, we have various options: we can search for the right bill or a couple of coins in our wallet, we can stick our Maestro- or MasterCard into the slot of the machine or – brave new NFC-world! – just wave the card over the scanner and walk away. Led by adoption in the United States, another tool to pay your bills has emerged: the smartphone.

Paying with your smartphone is – technically speaking – already possible at all cashiers that work with NFC. The German Wirtschaftswoche predicts that by 2020 basically all cashiers around Europe will be equipped with the necessary tools.

The traditional early-adopter countries are as usual a couple of steps ahead. In the US for example, mobile payment is already pretty well established: 1% of all purchases in retail are paid directly with Apple Pay.

The big players in the mobile market are expanding their endeavours all around the world. (Launching means not only to have a technical solution in place but also a full product with fixed partnerships). The three big providers are offering solutions – or announced concrete launches – in the following countries.

  • USA (Android, Apple, Samsung)
  • UK (Apple, Samsung, Android coming up)
  • Canada (Apple, Samsung)
  • Australia (Apple, Samsung, bald Android)
  • China (Apple, Samsung)
  • Hong Kong (Apple)
  • France (Apple coming up)
  • Singapore (Apple, Samsung)
  • Spain (Apple, Samsung)
  • South Korea (Samsung)
  • Brazil (Samsung)
  • Russia (Samsung)

As you see – few European countries (so far) find themselves among those on the forefront of the innovators of mobile payment. Also many observers frequently point out, that the smartphone might not add that much more convenience to the user than the handy cards (such as those provided by NUMBER26) which are already widely in use. What do you think? Will Europe catch up?

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