Another mobile payment competitor has entered the arena, because today Google is launching Android Pay.
As its name suggests, Android Pay lets you use your Android phone to pay for goods anywhere that tap and pays accepted. Google says that Android Pay is accepted at more than one million locations, with major names like American Eagle Outfitters, GameStop, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, Pepsi, Subway, Walgreens, Whole Foods, and more all on the list of Android Pay supporters.
To use Android Pay, you’ll need a device running Android 4.4 or higher that also has an NFC chip. You’ll also need the new Android Pay app, which is actually an updated version of the old Google Wallet app. The new Android Pay app isn’t live in the Google Play Store quite yet, but Google says that it’ll be available “in the next few days.” The app will come preinstalled on new phones from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
At launch, Android Pay will support cards from American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. That includes cards from popular banks like Bank of America and U.S. Bank. Google says that Citi and Wells Fargo will be added in the coming days and that Capital One is “coming soon.”
Google has been in the mobile payments game for a while, having originally launched Google Wallet back in mid-2011. Google Wallet never really took off as a mobile payments service, though, and Google eventually refreshed it as a way to send money to friends. Now that Apple and Samsung are bringing more attention to mobile payments with services of their own, Google has decided that it's time to give mobile payments another go with a new service that utilizes the Android name. We'll have to wait and see if Google has better luck the second time around, but I'd say that its odds are better than they were before.