Google Pay in Scandinavia

Google Pay is now available in Scandinavia. 9 to 5 Google reports Google Pay is living Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

Thus Google Pay is now available in 25 countries worldwide including much of the Eurozone. Critically, Finland uses the Euro while Sweden, Norway, and Denmark still utilize their own fiat currencies.

Financial institutions supporting Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) mobile wallet in Scandinavia include; Nordea, Sparebanken Sor, Revolut, Monobank, Jykse Bank, Edenred Finland, Lansforakringar Bank, and Sodexo Pass Sweden.

Apple Pay in Belgium

Not to be outdone, Apple Pay is supposedly launching in Belgium in November. 9 to 5 Mac claims BNP Paribas Fortis will support Apple Pay in Belgium starting in November.

Notably, Apple Pay will be the second Near Field Communications (NFC) mobile wallet in Belgium. To explain, Google Pay launched in the central European country in March 2017.

Moreover, a quick read (QR) code based mobile wallet is also popular in Belgium. However, 9 to 5 Mac did not say when Apple Pay Cash will be available in Belgium.

Apple is desperate to get you to use Apple Pay

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is desperate to get people to use Apple Pay. In fact Apple employees were wandering around Chicago begging people to use the mobile wallet.

Apple salespeople were going door to door on October 7 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park in an effort to push the wallet, Bloomberg claims. The “ambassadors” were touting a $1 taco promotion at food trucks in an effort to promote Apple Pay.

Apple claims that 60% of US merchants have the equipment to accept Apple Pay. Unfortunately, most of the big names in American retail including Walmart, Kroger, and Target, refuse to accept Apple Pay.

Notably, Target (NYSE: TGT) even refuses to accept Apple Pay in its wireless Skip the Line system. To explain, Skip-the-Line is a mobile device that lets shoppers pay Target associates with credit cards or the Target app without going to a cash register. However, Apple Pay users can pay at Target through the Target app.

Apple Pay is the second largest US Payment app

Apple Pay is the second most popular US payment app with 32 million users. America’s most popular digital wallet is PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) with 250 million users, Bloomberg estimates. Number three is Walmart Pay with 31 million users.

Interestingly, Walmart Pay is a QR code and not an NFC App. To explain a QR Code solution uses a phone’s camera to scan a bar code to authorize a payment. However, an NFC wallet makes a direct wireless contact with the company’s payment system.

I think big retailers are leery of NFC because of the possibility hackers will use it to penetrate their systems. QR code provides an extra layer of security because it gives outsiders no direct access to a company’s payment systems.

Surprisingly, Starbucks has more users than Google Pay. To clarify Bloomberg calculates that Starbucks has 25 million mobile wallet users. However, Google Pay has 22 million users in the United States.

Apple and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) have a lot of work to do in mobile-payment promotion. Their biggest challenge will be to convince Big Retail that NFC payments are safe.