Google has launched Android Pay in more than one million locations across the U.S. The search giant’s contribution to the mobile payment race, Android Pay allows users to store gift cards, loyalty cards and special offers on their mobile devices. When they’re ready to make a purchase, consumers can tap their phones on the payment terminal.
While announcing the launch, Android Pay executives announced that retailers such as Aeropostale, American Eagle, Babies “R” Us, GameStop, Jamba Juice, Panera Bread and Walgreens will accept the payment option. Android Pay also will partner with a select number of retailers to integrate the payment option into their mobile apps.
Currently, Android Pay is available on all NFC-enabled Android devices — operating on version 4.4 or higher — across all mobile carriers, noted Pali Bhat, Director of Product Management, Android Pay, in a company blog. “We’ll be rolling out gradually over the next few days, and this is just the beginning,” Bhat said. “We will continue to add even more features, banks and store locations in the coming months, making it even easier to pay with your Android phone.”
Android Pay supports credit and debit cards from American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. Major banks and credit unions, including American Express, Bank of America, Discover, Navy Federal Credit Union, MasterCard, PNC and Visa, are already on board with Android Pay. Within the next few days, Wells Fargo will be available, and Capital One and Citi will be rolled out in the near future, according to Bhat.
Google is rolling out Android Pay in waves and should reach all users with compatible phones within the next week. It also will come preloaded on phones later this year. The Google Wallet app will update to Android Pay, and some of its functionality, including sending and receiving money to specific users and managing the Google Wallet card, will move to a new app that is currently available for download.
To ensure user security, Android Pay touts industry standard tokenization. As a result, real credit and debit card numbers are not sent with payments. Rather, a virtual account number is developed. When a purchase is completed, consumers will receive a payment confirmation that shows where the transaction took place. Should any suspicious activity or theft occur, the Android Device Manager allows consumers to lock their devices, create a new password or wipe their information from the phone.