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Top 10 mobile payment integrations from the second half of 2014

As mobile payments gain speed in the mcommerce sector, Apple Pay continues to reign supreme, followed by its Android counterparts of Google Wallet and Softcard, due to the sheer number of top brands choosing to integrate with Apple’s payment platform to drive sales.

As commerce turns more digital and more mobile applications offer in-app purchasing options, consumers are demanding streamlined checkout processes and frictionless experiences with credit card payments. Mobile payment solutions for Android and iOS platforms were tapped by many major retailers to spur impulse buys and unburden customers from having to manually enter their card information into their mobile device.

As 2015 nears, Apple Pay is likely to remain the leader of mobile payments, although brands will offer options via Google Wallet and Softcard for their Android customers. Here are the top 10 mobile payment integrations from the second half of 2014, in alphabetical order.

Apple Pay aims for the fence with World Series initiatives
MasterCard teamed up with the World Series to offer incentives to cardholders that used Apple Pay at participating ballpark concessions at the 2014 World Series in Kansas City.

The NFC payments allows baseball fans to quickly purchase items and food at stands with their mobile devices, and get back to their seats to watch the game. MasterCard customers were eligible to receive a Priceless Surprise at participating vendors, part of MasterCard’s loyalty program.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media and also offered in-app support for Apple Pay for the sale of single game tickets for the 2015 season. Guests were able to leverage Apple Pay when buying tickets via the MLB app At the Ballpark.

Apple Pay’s growth increases pressure on retailers to jump on board
Ultimately, research displays that more retailers are feeling pressured to integrate with Apple Pay to compete with major brands such as Target that are already leveraging it. Apple Pay is continuing to increase the amount of card issuers in its repertoire, which entices many consumers that recognize their own payment cards in the platform.

Banks have also been integrating with the mobile payments solution, further boosting credibility for NFC payments. Therefore, smaller and mid-size retailers and financial institutions will feel urged to gain more mobility in mcommerce and will likely upgrade to point-of-sale terminals accepting this type of technology.

Apple Pay’s halo effect evident in Subway Softcard partnership
In what it claimed was the largest rollout of NFC payments in the United States, restaurant chain Subway launched Softcard-branded near-field communication payment terminals in more than 26,000 of its locations nationwide as part of an integration with its loyalty program.

Customers who pay via Softcard receive access to special offers, such as $1 back on every purchase over $1 made, provided they use an American Express credit card. The chain is also supporting Apple Pay’s system, as it does not want to discriminate against NFC platform.

It ultimately wants to support all mobile wallets that will boost revenue.

Beacons and Apple Pay deliver stepped-up shopping experience
As iBeacons continue to gain popularity and become adopted by many more brands, their combination with Apple Pay will cement them as a pioneer technology of the mobile space.

Beacons can recognize users’ store apps the moment they walk into a bricks-and-mortar store, and can send personalized messaged based on purchase history. Consumers can develop digital shopping lists, which then display a store map highlighting product locations.

Apple Pay allows guests to receive relevant discounts and offers, so if a customer holds his phone up to a beacon in the checkout area, he or she can take advantage of additional promotions during the last step of the shopping process.

Javelin exec: PayPal spin-off to open door wider for Apple Pay, NFC
PayPal’s split with eBay provided another opportunity for the ecommerce wallet brand to push adoption of NFC and Apple Pay payments.

Consumers are steadily becoming more comfortable with using mobile wallets and are less concerned with privacy or security issues. PayPal’s rising brand, and its commerce numbers of approximately $20 billion last year, throws extra support behind NFC and Apple Pay payments.

Local restaurants streamline pay-at-the-table with Apple Pay
A slew of local restaurants across the United States teamed up with Apple Pay to offer pay-at-the-table functionality in an effort to save time for restaurant-goers.

Guests were able to scan the QR code at the bottom of their restaurant receipt or manually enter the code to choose a credit card to pay with. The restaurants accepting Apple Pay were also able to integrate loyalty platforms and rewards features into their mobile applications, which could then be redeemed with the tap of a finger.

McDonald’s doubles down on NFC with both Softcard and Apple Pay
Meanwhile, fast food chain McDonald’s chose to partner with mobile commerce program Softcard to offer more convenience to guests and drive higher sales. The brand also accepts Apple Pay, in a bid to attract users from both iOS and Android platforms.

Softcard, which comes preloaded on approximately 30 smartphones, enables McDonald’s guests to pay with their mobile devices in the drive-thru lane at all United States locations. Rewards are also easily synced with the Softcard app.

This collaboration highlighted the importance of major chains being able to accommodate all payment types so as to not alienate any potential consumers.’s Express Deals integrates Apple Pay for even faster reservations tapped Apple Pay as the mobile payments option of choice to streamline booking reservations in its Express Deals section, claiming to be the first major online travel company to use the payment method.

Users of its namesake app can purchase Express Deals by tapping the Touch ID fingerprint authentication button on their Apple device to verify the payment. The brand believes this is optimal for on-the-go travelers or customers needing to book a last-minute trip.

A one-step checkout process makes sense for travel brands and apps, as their mobile consumption is steadily growing.

Target tests CurrentC mobile payments in store, Apple Pay in app
Target rolled out a dual strategy of piloting mobile payments app CurrentC at the same time as integrating Apple Pay into its iPhone app. Target is likely a fan of Apple Pay’s end goal of a cloud-based checkout, which will likely result in its using the iOS technology in stores in the near future.

Apple Pay’s streamlined checkout has reduced friction in the process, and resonated well with consumers. CurrentC is still being tested, with no exact date for a public rollout.

Walgreens exec: NFC payments doubled following Apple Pay integration
Pharmacy brand Walgreens saw in-store NFC payments double after its integration with the Apple Pay system – in the first week alone.

This allowed the brand to reinvent the mobile wallet experience and provide a much more streamlined checkout process for its customers. It also implemented its loyalty program into Apple’s Passbook, which resulted in its position in the app store jumping from 66 to 8.

Collaborating with innovative partners and mobile payment solutions make sense for Walgreens, as many of its consumers prefer to visit the store quickly to pick up urgent or last-minute personal items.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York