In case you haven’t noticed, your wallet (and the money in it) is slowly going digital. Over the last few years there has been a steady move towards the use of digital payment platforms, both as a way to simplify everyday transactions and to make them more secure. It won’t be long now before we are all paying for our purchases with the wave of a smartphone or the tap of a tablet. Bitcoin and Apple Pay may be leading the way, but they are by no means the only players in the game. Current C and Samsung Pay are also vying for the public’s attention and support, and even American Express and MasterCard are dipping their corporate toes in the digital payment waters. Not to be out done, Google is returning to the digital payment arena with a revamped version of Google Wallet, aptly named Android Pay.
Android Pay is On its Way
Google announced the arrival of Android Pay at this year’s annual I/O conference, and it is set to replace Google Wallet as the tech giant’s answer to sudden popularity of digital payment systems. Like its principal competitors, Android pay operates with the cooperation of banks and card issuers. Users can add a credit or debit card to their Android Pay profile, where it is immediately verified by the issuing bank.
As soon as your card information is verified, you will be able to complete purchases by simply placing your smartphone on the designated payment area of a NFC enabled terminal. There are no numbers to enter, no apps to launch, and no receipts to sign. You can set preferences as to what cards are used by default, and because all transactions are completed using virtual numbers generated within Android Pay your credit card information is protected from skimming and hacking.
But Android Pay does more than simply handle transactions. It also manages loyalty cards and gift cards. Simply scan or manually enter the cards into Android Pay, and the information is stored until you redeem the card. No more pesky cards stuffing your wallet or dangling from your keychain.
Moreover, Android Pay will notify you when you are near a shop that accepts one of your gift cards, so you’ll never forget to take advantage of those savings. It’s a particularly nice touch, and one that sets Android Pay apart from many of their competitors.
But When Will it Arrive?
Android Pay launched in the United States in September, and there is currently no release date scheduled for the UK and Europe. It would seem that Google wants to take a slow approach when it comes to their latest foray into digital payment platforms.
In many ways, that approach echoes the history of Google Wallet, which was slow to roll out and even slower to be accepted by the public. But the world has changed quite a bit since Google Wallet, and mobile payment systems are seeing a lot of action on the global market. It seems unlikely that Google would willfully abandon any part of that market share, particularly in light of its ongoing rivalry with Apple, whose own digital payment system is gaining popularity throughout the UK and Europe.
More to the point, Google is not a firm that repeats its mistakes. While they may have dropped the ball with Google Wallet, it’s a safe bet that Google won’t let the grass grow under their feet a second time. Android Pay will no doubt be available in the UK and Europe sooner than later.
The mobile payment market in the UK is beginning to get fairly crowded. We already have Bitcoin and Apple Pay, and we will soon have Samsung Pay to add to the crowd. Still, there is much to like about Android Pay, and it is a welcome improvement over the old, rather clunky, Google Wallet. It’s quick, it’s safe, and it’s versatile. Properly promoted Android Pay could easily give its rivals a run for their money as the preferred digital payment platform throughout Europe and the United Kingdom.
Of course, that can only happen once Google decides to give their mobile payment platform a wider release, taking it far beyond the confines of America. But that day will come, and no doubt sooner than we think.