As expected, Google officially announced Android Pay yesterday at the Google I/O conference. Although Android Pay will be a core part of the next generation Android M, it was clearly stated that all devices running Android 4.4 KitKat and above will be able to take advantage of Android Pay, although fingerprint support is part of Android M. Android Pay will continue from where Google Wallet left off, as well as replacing Google Wallet. Much like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, it is simply a matter of unlocking your device and tapping your phone on a NFC terminal to make a purchase.
Now, let’s get back to Canada. As big a deal as Android Pay is, like Apple Pay, it will not initially be available in Canada. For now, it is launching in the US only, but will certainly make its way to Canada in the near future as Google is certainly looking to launch Android Pay on an international scale. Canada already has a huge touchless ecosystem in place, making it a desirable destination for Android Pay. So while Android Pay is not initially coming to Canada, it is certainly something for Canadians to get excited about, because it will eventually help change the way we pay for purchases. Let’s think of the US as the testing site and by the time it comes to Canada, any bugs will be worked out, not to mention that more devices will have Android M showing up, making the use of Android Pay that much better.
Big names like American Express, Visa and Discover are onboard, along with 700,000 retailers that accept non-contact payments. MasterCard made it known that Android Pay will offer the “same security, benefits and guarantees as any MasterCard transaction.” In the US, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are ready and willing to sell Android Pay devices. The fingerprint support baked into Android M is also something to look forward to make paying with your Android device even more convenient.
Another important feature about Android Pay is that it supports tokenization – in other words, your credit card number is never exposed in the transaction. Your device and the merchant never actually transfer your actual credit card number through the internet…instead, a randomly generated token ‘stands in’ for your number, which will help prevent ‘middle-man’ attacks and other types of fraud. Therefore, in the short run, Android Pay does nothing to help Canadians, but in the long-term, it will have quite an impact.