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Mobile Wallets are Moving to the Web Browser with Implications for eCommerce and mCommerce

Both Apple Pay and Android Pay are bringing their mobile wallets to the web browser, adding both security and convenience to mCommerce and even computer-based eCommerce transactions. Consumers will be able to use Apple Pay within the Safari web browser this year, while Google recently released their PaymentRequest API for initiating payments completed via Android Pay in the Chrome web browser.

Apple Pay continues to grow by 1 million users per month as an in-store and in-app mobile wallet payment method, and soon supporting mobile and eCommerce web browser payments will expand its applicability to many more merchants and transactions. Apple officially announced and previewed a “Pay with Apple Pay” feature in the Safari web browser at their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

Apple Pay will soon be used for iPhone and iPad transactions using their proprietary mobile web browser, as well as when using Safari from a computer. Using the Pay with Apple Pay option from a Mac computer will push a notification to the consumer on their iPhone to provide their fingerprint, validating and completing the order (short demo video here). Apple also announced several merchant partners that would be adding Apple Pay as a payment option to their websites, including Expedia and Target.

While Apple Pay will be coming to the Safari web browser soon, Android Pay can be used with Chrome today. Google released a new PaymentRequest API to support Android Pay payments in May, and unlike Apple plans to expand to additional web browsers. Google also recently enhanced loyalty and gift card features with Android Pay, as well as announced plans with Bank of America to verify consumers via Android Pay fingerprint to access ATMs.

With these mobile wallets coming to web browsers, what are the implications for eCommerce organizations?

First, the expansion of these mobile wallets to the web browser represents significant opportunity for merchants. According to data from ComScore, retailers had 20 percent more consumers come through mobile websites than mobile apps in the last holiday season. Mobile apps are great for loyal and regular customers, but customers wanting to make one-off or impulse buys often have a cumbersome process to provide their payment details and checkout in a mobile browser. mCommerce sales have grown significantly each of the last couple years on Cyber Monday and the holiday season, but in 2016 many more consumers will have access to a quick and easy payment method when using mobile web browsers from their smartphones or tablets.

Because the Apple and Android Pay platforms utilize fingerprint biometrics, lots of mCommerce and some eCommerce transactions will become more secure. The biometric reading validates the phone owner and cardholder is the one authorizing the transaction. While there were early problems for some issuers with compromised cards being uploaded and approved for Apple Pay, most employ some kind of 2 factor authentication to ensure the real cardholder is adding their card to a mobile wallet.

Merchants, however, cannot count on this extra protection for all transactions. While the convenience of Apple Pay and Android Pay are appealing from a mobile device, there are still many other payment methods to choose from. Apple Pay may grow to be popular amongst iPhone and Mac users, but the payment can only be used with Safari, which had just 13 percent of the browser market in May.

Another consideration is the competitive pressure Android Pay and Apple Pay will put on eWallets and other alternative payment methods for the eCommerce and mCommerce channels. Convenience is a major selling point for PayPal, Visa Checkout, MasterPass and others, while Apple Pay and Android Pay look to eat into their market share.

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