Google’s second attempt at mobile payments, called Android Pay was announced at Google I/O back in May. The service has gone live in the US overnight and according to Google it’s expected to expand to more countries soon.
According to the announcement post, Android Pay is now live at more than one million locations, including Toys’R’Us/Babies’R’Us, Subway and their major departments stores such as Macy’s and Bloomingdales, but essentially the message is that anywhere Tap & Pay is supported – so will Android Pay be.
The reason that Android Pay is now working almost everywhere is the adoption of a standardised token system for payments which is supported by the top four major payment networks: American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. It’s this standardised token arrangement for payments that is Australia (and the rest of the world’s) best hope for expansion of the service. Google’s previous system Google Wallet, used a proprietary system that wasn’t easily rolled out internationally, but with a standardised system we should see it elsewhere and Google agrees stating in a Google+ post :
The list of US banks and credit unions on-board with Android Pay is a fairly comprehensive one, with more being added soon. Google is apparently working to bring more on-board as the rollout progresses.
When I spoke to Google at I/O in May, they saw the value in expanding to markets like Australia where Tap & Pay is almost the default method for using Credit Cards. That Australian’s are massive users of Tap & Pay isn’t just anecdotal with MasterCard’s chief emerging payments officer, Ed McLaughlin telling Forbes in a recent interview:
In Australia, around 60% to 70% of our transactions under $100 are already contactless because consumers like the speed and convenience.
This market is expected to grow in 2015, with Westpac Group predicting that contactless payment transactions will surge for up to $3 billion in Australia this year based on the current uptake of the technology.
The rollout of Android Pay is beginning in the US right now with an updated Google Wallet app being sent to compatible handsets now. Compatible of course meaning those handsets with an NFC chip on-board and running Android 4.4 and above. The brief hands-on I had with Android Pay showed that it was a great system and just plain worked and I can’t wait to see it rolled out here.