Home / News / Mobile / Google's Android Pay finally launches in US frame_main_breadcrumb_about    
18 DECEMBER 2016
This is the site of Card & Payments World, the well respected international newsletter providing in depth information on mobile, card and online payments and this is our daily news and resource site for subscribers who also receive 11 printed newsletters a year and three glossy magazines.

More than just a technology title. Read more

PDF Print
Friday, 11 September 2015 13:24
Google's Android Pay finally launches in US
Amex, MasterCard and Visa offer support
A year after it was supposed to launch, Google's Android Pay has finally arrived in the US.
Like Apple Pay, Google is working with the card networks Visa, MasterCard and American Express to ensure merchant acceptance. It has redesigned its old Google Wallet app and converted it into an exclusive P2P payment app for sending and receiving money using an email address.

Google’s new Wallet is similar to PayPal but there are some distinctive features like the user’s ability to withdraw money from participating ATMs using their Wallet Card. Google is going to roll out more information on this feature soon.

As MasterCard became one of the four payment networks to support Android Pay, Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard said, “We are thrilled to work with Google to deliver a safe and secure payment experience for our cardholders through Android Pay."

Android Pay will work on all NFC enabled Android devices. All the Android devices running KitKat 4.4 and above are NFC enabled.

Mobile pay - state of play
Apple Pay progress so far, and latest from Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Google and Zapp

It is almost a year since Apple launched Apple Pay to a welcoming US market, on October 20, 2014.

Today, Apple Pay is seen not just as a saviour of NFC technology, that had been languishing in the doldrums but an obvious and extremely easy way to make payments. It is like that with Apple. Announcements seem understated, or less than exciting, and then months later, the world wonders how we did without their new product.

Despite some early security concerns, when failings in merchant systems led to some losses, Apple Pay appears rock solid and can be held responsible for successfully launching contactless in a previously unenthusiastic US market.

When Apple Pay was introduced, it had three major card networks onboard: Visa, MasterCard and Amex which gave it immediate acceptance reach, riding as it did on the back of the card scheme networks. Importantly, this partnership with the big payment brands meant there was no competition. Everyone was on the same side.

Since then Bank of America, Capital One Bank, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo and more than 500 other new banks from across the country have signed on to Apple Pay giving a major headache to merchant led mobile payments consortium CurrentC, which has still not managed to launch.

When Apple Pay was introduced, only three dozen merchants accepted it, but this situation didn't last long. Following the handful of early adopters, which included McDonald’s, Macy’s, Chevron gas stations, Walgreens and Panera Bread others quickly followed when they realised that this was a customer led phenomenon they couldn't fight.

A year in the life of Apple Pay
Apple data is impressive:

– In the first 72 hours of Apple Pay, Apple Pay saw over 1 million activations.
– Within one week after the launch, Amazon (the largest e-commerce player in the US) announced that it would add support for Apple Pay.

– Walgreens integrated Apple Pay and said that the in-store traffic at the chain had doubled since their integration with Apple Pay. Apple Pay amounted to 1% of all Whole Foods transactions in just 17 days.

– Staples, one of the world’s largest internet retailers, announced that its Staples App for iPhone has started supporting Apple Pay.

– A month after the launch, Apple announced more merchants that had integrated Apple Pay: Associated Food Stores, Shaw’s Supermarkets, Jewel Osco, Harvey’s, Winn-Dixie, BI-LO, Albertson’s, Sephora and Instacart.

– By December 2014, Apple Pay was receiving support from more a number of credit unions. American First Credit Union, L&N Federal Credit Union, UW Credit Union and M&T Bank joined up to Apple Pay. It is now supported at 21 issuing banks in the US.

– By Christmas 2014, 31 banks, 50 merchants, and 25 apps were accepting Apple Pay. The new financial institutions backing Apple Pay included SunTrust, Barclaycard, USAA, TD Bank North America and Commerce Bank.

EMV spin-off
The launch of Apple Pay has also greatly helped the adoption of EMV chip cards in the US - the last market to resist the migration.
Because merchants want to be able to accept Apple Pay, they are updating their POS terminals. At the same time, major gas pumps have begun integrating Apple Pay for consumer convenience. JetBlue became the first US airline to adopt Apple Pay. Others quickly followed.

In only five months, Apple Pay tripled the number of major US merchants supporting it. 90 US banks, 58 apps and 47 merchants supported Apple Pay.

– In March 2015, Apple Pay announced that Apple Pay was accepted at 700,000 locations, including more than 2500 banking locations.
Soon no doubt, they will be releasing figures for their first full year and for their first few months in the UK market. A continuation of strong growth is expected.

The story has been less frenetic for the other major mobile payment brands.

Samsung promotes payment on low cost handsets
Samsung Pay, which was announced in March at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is being trialled in  Korea, with its US launch scheduled currently for September 28.

In readiness, it will be integrated into low and mid-budget Smartphones by 2016m, which will give it a strong competitive edge against the expensive iPhone 6, which is the model necessary to use Apple Pay.
According to Gartner, the global market share of Samsung smartphones fell to 21.9% in April-June from 26.2% a year ago, so drastic action was necessary. In an interview, Samsung Executive Vice President Injong Rhee said, “The way to protect pricing power, even for low-end or midrange phones, is to offer a service that users can’t get elsewhere.”

Samsung Pay uses NFC, and it can also be used on mag-stripe only termins because it also uses MST (magnetic stripe transmission) portions, which is enabled via LoopPay which it bought earlier this year.

Since its launch in South Korea, Samsung says an average of 25,000 new users are signing up daily. The company is seeing more than $620,000 in transactions on an everyday basis.
Samsung is planning to launch Samsung Pay in the US on September 28 and plans to roll out the service in the UK, Spain and China, with partners to be named in each market.

New date set by Zapp as it agrees fraud deal

Zapp, which signed a five year deal with Cambridge software business Featurespace to provide real-time fraud protection for its mobile payment customers now says it will launch "this autumn" with its bank to bank mobile payment app.

Zapp will deploy a fraud monitoring and alerting system based on Featurespace’s ARIC adaptive behavioural analytics engine to protect its users against fraud.

The engine is powered by machine learning adaptive algorithms which spot subtle changes at individual account level. The new technology enables existing and new types of fraud to be identified and prevented.

Following launch, the system will process thousands of events every second for customers of Zapp’s banking partners, including Barclays.

We get the inside stories on payments that you won't find anywhere else. To read them: