While Apple Pay (NASDAQ:AAPL) and CurrentC duke it out, another mobile payment option is making slow but steady progress on its own. Softcard, another NFC-based mobile wallet app, was recently picked up by McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), and released data on its two-year pilot run.
The Softcard app allows shoppers to add credit cards as well as aggregate offers and store loyalty cards in a mobile wallet. Several retailers have agreed to accept payments via the app, but without doubt the biggest is McDonald's, which is rolling out the technology at all of its U.S. stores, both in restaurants and in drive-thrus.
It's another big step toward making mobile payments commonplace, and Softcard CEO Michael Abbott said he hopes it can help the payment platform expand.
"McDonald's is one of the world's most iconic and innovative brands," Abbott said in a statement. "The scale and reach of McDonald's will drive mobile payments further into the mainstream and demonstrate the value Softcard delivers to both merchants and customers."
One edge Softcard has on the likes of Apple Pay and CurrentC is its availability on multiple operating systems: The app is the first mobile wallet available on Windows Phone and Android. The platform also has the advantage of a pilot run in Salt Lake City, Utah, to help prove it has an impact on payment behavior.
Over the two-year test run, Abbott reported that payment active rates were 2.5 times the national average, while taps per active user were 50 percent higher than the national average. And of particular interest to retailers, users in the city were 3.5 times more likely to engage with offers and four times as likely to use loyalty cards, when compared with the national average.
The launch of Apple Pay continues to look like the foot in the door mobile payments have needed, with more and competitors since throwing their hats into the ring. Challengers may find it difficult to overcome Apple's sizable install base, but retailers should at least have plenty of options as shoppers get more comfortable with mobile payments.
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