For the second time around, Google is taking a shot at offering a mobile payment system that mobile users, especially those who own Android run handsets, will actually use. Thus, the tech giant is now officially launching its Android Pay contactless mode of payment in the United States, as revealed in a post published in the Android Official Blog.
In making Android Pay work for American mobile users, Google has already inked partnerships with over 1 million retail locations in the US, including well known names such as Macy’s, Whole Foods, Walgreens, and many others. Google stated that Android Pay will also store gift cards as well as loyalty cards on smartphones powered by the Android mobile operating system. Of course, Android Pay will also support debit cards and credit cards from the big four payment establishments -- American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. Before the end of 2015, Android Pay should be able to work with mobile apps, too.
Google first introduced Android Pay back in May earlier this year during its I/O conference held in the city of San Francisco, California. 2015 has seen many new mobile payment systems being introduced to the public. Sure, Apple got the ball rolling when it unveiled Apple Pay the year before, enabling owners of newer iPhone models (the iPhone 6 at least) and the Apple Watch to pay for purchases with the use of their Apple devices. Three days after it debuted in October of 2014, more than 1 million credit cards had been activated on Apple’s payment system, which is more than any contactless mode of payment has ever managed.
Apple Pay may already be the most popular mobile payment system today, but it is far from being the first. That honor actually goes to Google Wallet, a service that Google introduced four years ago. Unfortunately for the company, the service never really took off with the masses, not to mention failing to get enough support from the retail sector. Granted, the system had its issues, but Google actually introduced a new version of Google Wallet, but one that focuses on sending and receiving cash via Android handsets.
Will Google’s Android Pay be able to stand toe to toe with Apple Pay? It is hard to say for now. What is clear though is the abundance of competition. In March early this year, Samsung also unveiled its own service, Samsung Pay, which can be used by people owning the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge devices, and will be rolling out in the US this September, too. Even PayPal, a long time player in the payments industry, is also trying to enhance its mobile payment services.
If anything else, Google’s Android Pay is coming at a rather nice time, albeit one that is highly competitive. Payments completed via smartphones at retail stores are projected to increase to $118 billion in three years time, per eMarketer’s numbers. That is equivalent to an improvement of over 3,000 percent compared to the $3.5 billion posted in 2014. Massive figures indeed, and Google could do well to take advantage of the moment.
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