Mobile Web Payments 101: Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Payment Request API

Mobile web payments are changing faster than Clark Kent.

In this article we’re going to cover Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Google’s Payment Request API. We’ll let you know what they are, how they work, and how they can fit into your business.

First Things First

Let’s clarify the difference between mobile web payments and mobile payments. Mobile payments are when you use Apple Pay or Android Pay on your mobile device at a brick and mortar location, instead of using a card or cash. It’s a form of contactless payment that uses Near Field Communication technology – the same tech that you use for tapping your credit or debit card. What we’re going to be talking about in this article are web payments made on browsers, specifically payments made on the mobile web.

Apple Pay vs Android Pay on the Web

Both Android Pay and Apple Pay are supported on the web, in different but similar ways (in classic tech rival fashion).

Apple Pay for the web became available with the release of iOS 10 on iPhone and Sierra for Mac desktop. Apple Pay JS uses Javascript to incorporate Apple Pay into a website, and works on mobile and desktop Safari. The Apple Pay button on your website opens a fully native Apple Pay flow and allows the customer to skip entering their payment and shipping details. The customer being signed up for Apple Pay (which only some banks support) is required to use Apple Pay on the web.

On the other tab, Google has implemented the Payment Request API. Payment Request is a JavaScript API that supports credit cards (that are securely stored via Chrome) and also supports Android Pay as a payment option. Payment Request will work in the Chrome browser on iPhone, Android phone or non-Mac desktop, and possibly other browsers in the near future. It is not required that the customer have Android Pay set up to use the Payment Request API on Chrome, and it’s not a branded user experience in the same way as Apple Pay.

Whether you offer both Apple Pay or Payment Request API on your website, only the option available to the customer will be displayed to them.

Why You Should Care

Until now, mobile customers have been burdened with tedious checkout flows, contributing to lagging mobile revenue compared to traffic. With app-like mobile web payments, conversion rates are already going up. According to Forbes, SeatGeek and Indiegogo have seen major conversion rate increases since introducing Apple Pay – 80% and 2.5 times, respectively.

Retailers’ hands have been somewhat tied in overcoming this complicated challenge until now – there’s certain important information that needs to be exchanged before goods can be purchased and shipped. Even shoppers that were eager to buy were faced with a process that ignores the reality of interrupted mobile moments.

With this new model of web payments, tech companies, ecommerce platforms, and retailers can work together to create the best possible user experience for the customer, as well as optimize checkout flows for max conversions.
Still have questions? Watch our webinar with Google, check out this article, or get in touch with any questions. We’re always happy to help.

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