It appears that out of all those leaked dates for Android Pay, that today is the actual day that it’s launching. Or at least starting its initial rollout. Google announced Android Pay back at Google I/O in May. As their second attempt at mobile payments. After going all in with Google Wallet, and three of the four carriers in the US blocking it from being pre-installed on their phones, now the company has all the carriers on board. Simply because they bought Softcard which was backed by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Android Pay still uses NFC to make the payments, similar to Apple Pay, and today Google has started the rollout.
Google’s Android blog is announcing today that Android Pay will be accepted at over a million locations across the US. Which tells us that this is US only for now but Google has stated that it will be supported in more countries soon. With Android Pay, you can store your gift cards, loyalty cards, as well as special offers, all in the app on your phone. Google is rolling out Android Pay over the next few days. So we’re looking at a staged rollout, as usual. Google is also promising that they will add even more features, more banks and store locations in the future. The purpose is to make this even easier to use than ever before.
All NFC Android devices running Android 4.4 or higher will be able to use Android Pay, no matter what carrier they are on. Additionally, every tap and pay location across the United States will support Android Pay starting today. They will also support credit and debit cards from American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. These cards are also issued by many banks in the US which will also be accepted. Including American Express, Bank of America, Discover, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, USAA, and US Bank. Google says that Citi and Wells Fargo will be available in the coming days. Google is still working with Capital One and should have them on board soon.
Current Google Wallet users will be able to access Android Pay through an update to the Wallet App. New users will be able to use Android Pay on Google Play in the next few days. It will also come pre-installed on new NFC devices coming from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. So that’s one more pre-installed app for every Android smartphone coming from a carrier in the US.