Android Pay coming to Australia in 2016
Google's tap-and-pay technology for Android users will go head-to-head with Apple Pay.
Google has officially confirmed that Android Pay, its "tap and pay" service for Android phones, will launch in Australia in 2016.
Android Pay, which uses the NFC chips found in most modern Android smartphones to allow users to make payments by tapping their phone on a terminal, has been available in the US since 2011, where it originally launched under the name Google Pay. It can also be used to make payments to online stores, creating a potential rival to PayPal.
Google hasn't set an official Australian launch date beyond "the first half of 2016", but says that it has been working with numerous Australian banks and retailers prior to launch. That timing means it's likely to launch at the same time as Samsung's planned Samsung Pay option. (As you'd guess from the name, that option only works on specific Samsung Galaxy phone models.)
Android Pay will initially work with Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards. Google is also exploring options to integrate it with EFTPOS, which would considerably broaden the range of accounts that could be used for payments.
Apple launched its rival Apple Pay service in Australia in October. However, it currently only works with a limited selection of American Express cards. While Apple has been trying to negotiate broader deals to cover other credit cards, it hasn't yet been able to strike a deal with Australian banks, in part because of its demands for a higher proportion of the fees from any Apple Pay transactions.
Apple Pay only works on iPhones, and Android pay only works on Android. Even without the Google and Android options, Australians have options to use their NFC-enabled phones for payments. Both Commonwealth Bank and Westpac offer smartphone apps that include tap-and-pay options (though the Westpac feature only works on Samsung devices). More than 60% of card transactions in Australia are made with contactless cards.
Here's a list of the banks Google says it is working with in Australia:
- Bank of Melbourne
- Bank of South Australia
- Bendigo Bank
- ING DIRECT
- Macquarie Bank
And here are the main retailers it has partnered with so far:
- Brumby's Bakery
- Coles Express
- Coles Supermarkets
- Crust Gourmet Pizza
- Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited
- Donut King
- Gloria Jean’s Coffees
- Michel’s Patisserie
- Pizza Capers