Why Android Pay and Microsoft are pairing with Masterpass and Visa Checkout

Angus Kidman 25 October 2016

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The mobile payment wars still have a long way to go.

So far, the main selling point for mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay and Android Pay has been the fact you can use them instead of a contactless credit card. This has two benefits: you don't have to take your card with you, and it's more secure, since payments need to be authorised with your fingerprint.

That's handy for meatspace purchases, but what about when you're shopping online? One strategy here is for the platforms to partner with retailers directly, and we've seen some instances of that. But a more effective approach is to partner with credit card issuers, and we're seeing a lot of activity in that area right now.

Overnight, Google announced that it is partnering with Mastercard and Visa to allow Android Pay to be used as a payment mechanism on sites which are set up for Visa Checkout and Masterpass. That will become available in early 2017. Microsoft also announced a similar deal with Masterpass for its Microsoft wallet.

Visa Checkout and Masterpass work in essentially the same way, allowing you to shop without having to constantly re-enter your credit card and delivery details. It's more convenient and more secure, since you don't have card information stored with multiple retailers.

It's a sensible enough strategy, but will it make a difference? Australians are already super-keen on contactless payments; 59% of us have used them. Clearly we weren't waiting around for those options to become available on our phones. The restricted Australian rollout of Apple Pay in particular means that it's not an option for anyone other than an ANZ or Amex customer right now, though that might change with an ACCC ruling this month.

I'm a fairly dedicated online shopper, but I've never bothered to sign up for either Masterpass or Visa Checkout. If a site offers PayPal, I generally use that, but I only have a PayPal account because it's long been the easiest way to make payments on eBay. If that hadn't been the case, I doubt I'd have bothered.

So I'll keep an eye out for when the Android Pay integration happens, but I'm not sure I'll ever use it. How about you?

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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