Google was one of the first big companies to attempt mobile payments with the launch of Google Wallet in 2011. Unfortunately, the service was perhaps a little too early, as most retailers lacked the technology to make Tap and Pay viable. Some carriers also blocked Google Wallet, to focus on their service, Softcard.
The mobile payments scene changed last year, when Apple announced its new service called Apple Pay and since then, Samsung has also announced and rolled out (in select countries) its solution called Samsung Pay. Google announced Android Pay at I/O this year and it wasn’t just a rebranding of Google Wallet. Android Pay is built into Android itself – it’s not a separate app which you have to launch each time you want to use it.
Android Pay includes the Tap and Pay functionality of Google Wallet but also extends to payments you can make in apps and on websites. It can also store your loyalty cards from different stores, and while using Tap and Pay you can even opt to use your reward points. Android Pay also works in conjunction with the built in fingerprint functionality of Android Marshmallow for authentication, much like Apple Pay can be used with Touch ID. Also, your credit card details aren’t transferred to the vendor – instead, a virtual account is created for the user and money is funneled through it.
All this doesn’t mean that Google Wallet is going away. In fact, Google just released a brand new Google Wallet app and is spinning the service into a money transfer service, much like Paypal, and the physical Google Wallet cards will remain active as well. It is an interesting time for mobile payment services and their viability, though it can be argued that they will be successful merely because of Apple’s backing, whose brand pull is remarkable. As a plus point, any terminal which accepts Apple Pay will also accept Android Pay as they both use the same technology.
Android Pay will be available for devices running KitKat or higher, though it should be noted that Tap and Pay requires an NFC chip in your phone. Right now, Android Pay supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards which are issued by most of the popular banks and credit unions, with new ones coming soon. Android Pay can be used at over a million locations including Subway, Gamestop, Bloomingdales and Staples.
Are you looking forward to being able to use Android Pay? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.Source: Official Android Blog