NEW YORK – Faster, better, cheaper. For most consumers the verdict on mobile payments is still out. But this holiday shopping season, trying a new way to pay may at least be cheaper.
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PayPal and Google Wallet are offering deals and discounts to entice customers to use their services. Shoppers need to pay for goods in stores using a smartphone or online. The deals are available at major stores, including Toys R Us, Sephora and Home Depot. The promotions come as competition among such services intensifies, with the recent launch of Apple Pay.
To take advantage, shoppers need to open an account at either service's website by linking a credit card or debit card. Having an account at PayPal or Google Wallet can mean faster checkouts online. Whether shoppers are on a computer or using a smartphone app, they can click on the button for each service and their credit card information and address displays automatically. At stores, there's no need to swipe a credit card or take out cash, just a few taps on a smartphone app or hovering the smartphone over a register, and the transaction is done.
PayPal is offering email alerts for deals throughout the holiday season. Shoppers who use PayPal at Toys R Us, Home Depot, Famous Footwear and teen retailer Aeropostale, can get $5 off when they spend $25 in the stores through Dec. 15.
Deals also can be found on PayPal's website, shopping.paypal.com/index. Recent deals include 15 percent off at JCPenney.com, which ends in April. To take advantage of an advertised discount, users must click on the offer to save it to their PayPal account. Then, when the purchase is made, the discount will automatically be subtracted.
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GOOGLE WALLET DISCOUNTS
One for you, one for me. Shoppers who use Google Wallet to buy a gift card for someone else at select retailers' websites, will receive a $5 gift card for themselves. The retailers include makeup seller Sephora, office supply retailer Staples, natural foods grocer Whole Foods and movie theater chain Regal Cinemas. That deal ends Dec. 26. Buyers get the $5 gift emailed to them, and then have to save it to their Google Wallet account.
Google Wallet also offers additional deals if users click the "pay with Google" button in certain apps on Android devices. There's currently an offer for 5 percent off purchases made in the app for electronics retailer B&H, 20 percent off at men's clothing retailer app JackThreads and $5 off at online food ordering app Eat24, among others. Those deals are available for a limited time, but don't specify an end date.
...AND APPLE PAY?
Apple Pay, which is only available to iPhone 6 owners, isn't offering any holiday discounts. But its partners are advertising some perks. JPMorgan Chase recently offered customers a free download of DJ David Guetta's new album, if they connected their Chase credit cards to Apple Pay.
All the services promote their potential safety benefits. Consumers may be concerned about their personal data after data breaches at Home Depot, Target and other major retailers, but these services note that personal data is only stored in their system and isn't shared with every retailer that a shopper frequents.