INTERNET giant Google joined the race to make our wallets obsolete today, launching its Android Pay service in Australia that will let smartphones double as credit cards.
But unlike its Apple and Samsung digital wallet rivals, which launched with one or two banking partners, Android Pay is compatible with 28 financial institutions, including ANZ, Macquarie, and Beyond Bank, and will feature in local apps including those from Jetstar and Menulog within “a few days”.
WALLET BEGONE: Samsung plans to replace your wallet within three years
HOW TO: What you need to do to use Apple Pay in Australia
Google product management senior director Pali Bhat told News Corp that Australia was a natural market for mobile payment technology due to the huge number of tap-and-pay credit card terminals and because “two thirds of Australians” were already using the technology to pay for goods.
“Aussies are already ready,” he said. “They’re already there. It’s a matter of us delivering the technology.
“The ubiquity of mobile payments really makes Australia an awesome country for us to launch Android Pay.”
Google’s mobile payment service is the third digital wallet to hit Australia, following the launch of Apple and Samsung Pay.
However, Android Pay is compatible with 28 financial institutions from launch, including ANZ, American Express, Macquarie, Bank of Sydney, and Beyond Bank, with Bendigo and ING Direct expected to add their services shortly.
The Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and National Australia Bank still elude all the digital wallet services, however.
Google’s payment solution will also work on more phones than that of its rivals.
Android Pay can be used on any smartphone running Google Android software, version KitKat and above, including handsets from Samsung, Sony, LG, Huawei, BlackBerry, and HTC.
Samsung smartphone owners will be able to choose whether to use Samsung or Android Pay, while iPhone users can only use Apple Pay as a digital wallet.
Google’s payment technology will also be added to Australian made apps shortly, Mr Bhat said, to automatically send payment details to approved stores without the need for users to re-enter credit card details.
“Catch of the Day, Deliveroo, EatNow, Hotel Tonight, and Kogan — all of them will be supporting Android Pay,” he said. “Right on day one, you’ll be able to use it in stores to pay but over time you will see all of these apps rolling it out.”
Australian phone users download the Android Pay app from today, and activate it by registering a supported credit card.
Once set up, users will be able to unlock their phone and hold it close to a payment terminal to pay for an item.
“You won’t have to open the app again,” Mr Bhat said. “If you’re buying a drink at the 7-11, you can just raise your phone, tap it, and you’re done. There’s nothing to open.”
The phone transmits an encrypted token to the machine, rather than your credit card number, for security.
Mr Bhat said Google’s next step would be adding loyalty programs to Android Pay so consumers could stop carrying extra cards, though he declined to be drawn on when users would stop carrying their wallets and purses.
“It’s (a question) that will ultimately be answered by consumers and not by product managers at Google,” he said.