The debut of Google’s latest service offers consumers toting Android-based phones the opportunity to bring Google even closer to how people live each day. The company’s Android Pay has begun rolling out to millions of smartphone users, letting them pay with their phone at over one million locations across the US.
Google also launched a new Google Wallet app focused exclusively on sending and receiving money. “You can use Google Wallet with your Android or iOS device to send money to anyone in the US with an email address, even if they are not a Wallet user,” it explained. “And now, when you receive money through Google Wallet, you can quickly cash out to a debit card or linked bank account.”
Android Pay allows people to store debit and credit cards with the service. At businesses supporting Android Pay as a payment method, people can simply move their phone into close proximity with the payment terminal to complete a transaction.
There are no half measures with Google’s effort to connect itself even more closely with people who already use its products every day. Android Pay supports credit and debit cards with the four major financial brand networks – American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.
Many banks and credit unions have already signed on to allow their cards to work on Android Pay. Google said many more will follow, including Wells Fargo, Citi, and Capital One. There will be plenty of opportunities to use the service as Google touted participation from over a million locations in the United States.
The more interesting addition to Android Pay will be support for loyalty cards and similar programs offered by retailers. Modern consumers who participate in such programs probably have a keyring full of cards from groceries and other businesses.
Shifting such loyalty programs from physical bits of plastic to electronic bits within Android Pay represents a minor quality of life benefit for Google’s customers as well as the businesses behind those reward efforts. But right now that looks to be a limited scope effort, with Google saying support for loyalty cards and special offers will be with “select merchants.”
While Android Pay will have its initial impact with smartphone users, Google isn’t ignoring the world of ecommerce. The company’s future plans for Android Pay include mobile checkouts through shopping apps participating in the program too.