Pay Buttons Hit the Web

In the early spring, the industry was abuzz that Apple would bring Apple Pay to the web later this year, adding in-browser payment capabilities for Safari users. Shoppers will now be able pay online using a “Pay with Apple Pay” button, and authenticate their purchases using Touch ID on the device. Not to be outdone, Google announced “Pay with Android Pay” would be available for the web around the same time.

Accessing Online Shoppers

Services like Android Pay and Apple Pay have redefined mobile payments, but are only available in apps and on-site at retail locations. In fact, mobile wallet adoption has been sluggish in the U.S. Despite the success of apps as a shopping platform, the majority of ecommerce still occurs through a browser. The move to web payments will grant Apple and Android access to a whole new segment of shoppers and merchants, competing directly with PayPal’s dominance as the most seamless web solution.

Merchant Benefits

Many consider the process of mobile purchases complicated and slow. The data supports that sentiment – smartphone conversion rates are consistently below 5% compared with desktop shopping at twice the smartphone rate. Working in Safari browsers, the new Apple Pay experience will be frictionless, resulting in increased conversions. The same will be true for Android. Ecommerce merchants who choose to support the “pay models” for web-based payments can expect to see more users trying the service and an easing of the high abandon rates so common for online shopping.

Breakthrough Advantage

The 3-D secure protocol for online authentication has drawn criticism for the poor user experience associated with password prompts when trying to make a purchase. Both Apple and Google will take a standards-based approach to deploying their respective solutions and bring the convenience of Touch ID or other biometrics with the same benefits of increased security as a 3-D secure transaction. It is yet to be seen if merchants will also benefit from any change in transaction costs or liability treatment, but the security of the 3-D secure solution combined with ease of use will be a great benefit to merchants.


Developers and merchants will need to make their decision to back Android and Apple browser solutions based on support for browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox. However, the question may be short-lived; by taking the standards-based approach, seamless, frictionless, secure payments from a browser will quickly become the new norm. The days of typing card info, shipping, billing and other information onto a smartphone screen are numbered.

Developers and merchants will have a new online experience to implement. Companies are busy preparing their ecommerce checkout flows for the pay models, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Apple reports it’s signed multitudes of merchants – Target, Expedia and United Airlines among them. As it did with mobile payments, Apple Pay and Android Pay are kicking the door open for standards-based browser payments and we can expect the service to truly gain traction in 2017.

Frank T. Young
Senior Vice President, Global Product & Innovation
Global Payments