Google is launching its second attempt at mobile payments, rolling out a new ‘Android pay’ service across the US this week.
The firm previous attempt at replacing credit cards with mobile phones ‘Google Wallet’ failed to get much traction, and has since been superseeded by Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Just like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, Android Pay lets users make contactless payments using their smartphone at participating retailers. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards from banks including Bank of America, US Bank and others.
The Google system will support credit and debit cards from providers including MasterCard, Visa and American Express, as well as banks including Bank of America, with Citigroup and Wells Fargo to follow.
Rather than passing users’ credit card details to a retailer, both the Google and Apple systems generate a “token” so the actual data is not revealed during a transaction, reducing the risk of data theft.
Google says the new app will begin its rollout slowly with a small batch of users before reaching most Android phones (with NFC) running Android 4.4 KitKat or above within the next week.
If US users already have Google Wallet installed on their device, they will soon see an update that morphs that app into Android Pay.
Google has re-released Google Wallet as a separate app now focused strictly on payments between friends and family like Square Cash and Venmo.
Loyalty programs, gift cards, and offers previously stored in Wallet will now automatically move over to Android Pay.
Last month, Samsung launched its own mobile wallet service, called Samsung Pay, in South Korea.
It will be available in the US from 28 September, with countries including the UK, Spain and China to follow.
Google is yet to reveal when Android Pay will be available outside the US.