After launching in the UK earlier this year, Google’s Android Pay is now officially live in Australia, tying up with twenty major and minor banks which include the likes of ANZ, Macquarie, MyState Bank, American Express and Teachers Mutual Bank. The contactless payment system will work at over 800,000 retail locations in the country and it is expected that a number of retailers like Bountye, Catch of the Day, Dominos, Deliveroo and Clipp will soon let customers use Android Pay to make payments via their mobile apps as well. ANZ, Google’s flagship banking partner in Australia, expressed confidence that given Android being the dominant smartphone operating system in the country, Android Pay will be received with open arms by retailers and customers alike.
Even though a large number of Android phone users in Australia are now able to use the payment system, Android Pay has some way to go before establishing itself as a major contactless payment platform. A deal with MasterCard is yet to be completed and three of the four major Australian banks, namely Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac are yet to tie up with the platform. Its success will also depend on how soon retailers will update their apps to enable payments via Android Pay and until they do that, the glass will remain half full. A number of major banks in the country also have their own digital payment platforms and may have already tied up with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, so it will be interesting to see if such banks will count on Android Pay to offer better payment services. However, Pali Bhat, who is the Senior Director for Product Management at Google, said that the company will partner with all banks, big or small, in due course and will also make efforts to enable Android Pay not just in premium Android phones but in all devices that feature NFC.
Apart from Australia, Android Pay is also expected to launch in Singapore as well and along with expanding the service to new countries, Google is also adding new features to Android Pay to make it ‘even easier’ to use. Users of Android devices with stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS can now authorize transactions through fingerprint sensors in their phones which is much more secure and won’t require them to punch in their PINs. However, Samsung Pay has emerged as a major rival and while it entered Australia last month, it is set to enter new markets like China, Brazil and Singapore and the Korean company has so far been more aggressive in terms of expanding its services in new countries compared to Google.