With all the talk about Apple Pay, and the ongoing battle with CurrentC (the already hacked alternative that wants you to provide your direct bank account info), there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about how Apple Pay works and why turning off NFC terminals also affects Google Wallet & Windows Phone Wallet users, as well as those who have a credit card with a chip built in.

The tap-to-pay NFC terminals can be used by all of these: MasterCard PayPass, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Wallet for Windows Phone, and any credit/debit card with a built-in NFC chip. The software the makes use of this is different based on if you're on Android, iOS, WP, etc, but the terminals all use the same hardware tech. So if a place says they accept Google Wallet (I've only ever seen signs for this at Jamba Juice locations) you can also use Apple Play, WP Wallet, etc. And likewise, if a place accepts Apple Pay, you can use Google Wallet or WP Wallet.

And yesterday, Phandroid posted the best demonstration of this, someone using Google Wallet at an Apple Store.

Update (10/31): A few comments have addressed this, so I thought I'd mention a few reasons all the talk is about Apple Pay, and not so much with any of the other NFC payment methods. One is that Apple, to their credit, has a pretty good marketing team, who have made it seem like mobile payments is a new thing that Apple came up with, and true or not, it is new to anyone who has only had an iPhone, which is a lot of poeple.

Another reason Google Wallet (and I assume WP Wallet) isn't as well known is that they haven't done as much marketing (I've never seen a commercial for it, and I watch a lot of TV), and because both allow their OS to be used on various devices (Google much more so, from what I've seen) and not all of those devices include an NFC chip, so even if you have an Android or Windows Phone, doesn't mean you can use their respective tap-to-pay apps. Further reducing the use of Google Wallet was its competitor, Softcard (fka ISIS), created by a consortium of credit card and cell phone companies, most of whom tried to prevent Google Wallet from being used on their devices.

Advertisement

And yet another reason other NFC payment methods may not be as well known is even before stores started shutting them off, not all terminals were working properly. Based on my own anecdata, the tap-to-pay terminals only worked at about half the places I tried them, and often the clerks didn't really know about it either, including this 7-11 clerk who kicked a man out for trying to use Google Wallet last year. In addition to making more people aware of tap-to-pay technology, Apple has also made sure employees at stores that officially accept Apple Pay also know how it works. Gotta give them credit for that too.