Google squares up to Apple with Android Pay launch
10 September 2015 | 11382 views | 1
Google has begun rolling out Android Pay in the US, enabling users to make instore mobile NFC payments at more than a million locations across the country.
The wallet will be introduced gradually over the next few days, working with NFC-enabled Android devices running KitKat 4.4 and above on all US mobile carriers.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa are all onboard, meaning customers can add credit and debit cards issued by banks including BofA, USAA, and US Bank to the wallet. Citi and Wells Fargo will be available in the next few days.
Unveiled at Google's I/O developer conference, Android Pay is Google's second shot at mobile payments after its Google Wallet effort failed to take off - in large part due to a lack of support from mobile network operators.
This time Google is taking advantage of its recent acquisition of telco-owned rival Softcard to make sure that any Android handset bought through AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon supports Android Pay out of the box.
The Web giant still faces formidable hurdles, including powerful rivals in Apple, Samsung and retailer consortium MCX. Nevertheless, with tens of millions of handsets ready for the service, Apple Pay seeing a levelling off in adoption, Samsung Pay yet to launch in the US, and MCX floundering, Google is confident of winning over users.
Initially, Android Pay will only work for instore payments - with the likes of Macy's, Subway and Whole Foods lined up - but Goole says that the service will soon be extended to enable user to make in-app purchases as well.
With Android Pay hitting the Play store, Google Wallet is also getting a refresh, morphing into an app focused on sending and receiving money. Users can send money directly from their bank accounts, debit cards and Wallet balances to anyone in the US with an email address.