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Apple Pay has become one of the most popular NFC payment systems since its US launch in October, but Google and Samsung have other ideas. Jordan Strauss/Invision for Disney Store/AP Images
spanner in the works?

Apple Pay just got two major rivals all of a sudden

And one has been sitting on its own service since 2011.

TWO OF APPLE’S most talked about products at the moment include Apple Pay and talk of it working on its own electric car, but its rivals are starting to make their own moves.

First is Google has decided to give its smartphone payment system, Google Wallet, a boost by teaming up with mobile payment company Softcard.

Like Apple Pay, it allows users to pay for goods by tapping their phone against an NFC tag. It’s partnered with three of the US’s biggest providers, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Version Wireless, allowing it some scope. It also recently introduced Wallet in the UK, allowing users to transfer money via Gmail

Google Wallet has been around since 2011, but uptake among vendors was low, allowing Apple Pay to take a clear lead since has was introduced in the US back in October.

The second rival is Samsung, which recently bought the payments service LoopPay, placing it as a competitor to both Apple Pay and Google Wallet. It’s expected that Samsung will show off its new mobile payments system and explain the deal further at its Galaxy S6 launch on 1st March.

LoopPay’s technology turns the magnetic fields of a card swipe slot into a contactless payment system, meaning vendors aren’t required to change their system. By comparison, Apple Pay and Google Wallet use NFC communication which requires retailers to upgrade their system.

Loop Pay / YouTube

Car ambitions

That isn’t the only thing that Apple has to worry about. Samsung SDI (the company’s energy solutions and electronic materials section) acquiring Magna Steyr, an Austrian-based manufacturer that specialises in battery packs for electric and hybrid cars.

In a statement announcing the deal, Samsung said that its experience in providing global automakers with battery packs will help it secure customers in the “fast-growing automotive battery markets in Europe, North America and China.”

While it doesn’t mean that Samsung is entering the market itself, it does mean that Apple will likely have to team up with one of its rivals (or at the very least, it limits its options) if it wants to get its car-making ambitions off the ground. Also, Apple was said to be poaching a number of Samsung’s battery and chip experts to help with its new electric car.

If Apple does decide to go ahead with plans to enter the electric car business, it would expect to start producing them as soon as 2020. It’s believed that 200 people are working on the project, including a number of former Tesla employees, another electric car company whose CEO is Elon Musk.

Read: Apple is building an €850 million data centre in Athenry >

Read: Facebook accused of giving users a false sense of control >

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