For a while now, the Android Pay team has been saying that loyalty cards were going to be integrated with the service. And now it officially has. Today, Walgreens announced via a press release that their loyalty card is now available through Android Pay. Meaning you can head to your local Walgreens, pick up a few items and pay with your phone, as well as using your loyalty card through your phone. Making it a much simpler process for everyone. According to their press release, "Walgreens Balance Rewards members can now seamlessly apply their loyalty account at checkout through Android Pay, furthering the convenience of earning and redeeming points and expanding the company's portfolio of unified mobile payments solutions."
Walgreens says that they have more than 85 million active Balance Rewards members, "many of whom use Android devices." They are also touting the fact that this gives users another easy, secure and private way to earn and use loyalty points in the store. It also eliminates needing to bring and scan their Balance Rewards card or enter the number at checkout. To get started, users simply need to download the Android Pay app from Google Play and add their Walgreens Balance Rewards card to their account. If the user hasn't already set up Android Pay, there will be a few other steps needed to get started. Walgreens is the first retailer to introduce loyalty cards to be integrated with Android Pay, Coke also has their own already with Android Pay and the service already allowed you to store your loyalty cards in the app for the cashier to scan at the register.
Android Pay relaunched last year, as Google's second attempt at mobile payments, after Google Wallet failed (mostly due to it being well ahead of its time). Android Pay still isn't as popular as Samsung Pay or Apple Pay, but that should change soon. Samsung Pay is mostly a success because of their LoopPay purchase. Which allows Samsung users to go ahead and use their phone to pay for items at just about any place that accepts credit or debit cards. Seeing as merchants don't need a new system, like they do with Android Pay and Apple Pay, since they use NFC. To use Android Pay, all you need is a smartphone running Android 5.0 or higher, along with NFC. NFC is needed since that is how the smartphone connects with the terminal to start the payment process.