Google’s digital wallet Android Pay has its official Australian launch on Thursday, and like with Apple Pay’s earlier launch Australia and New Zealand Banking Group is the first big four bank signed up.
While the service is expected to have a faster adoption rate than Apple Pay, the lack of any of the other major banks on launch is a surprise after Westpac had earlier pledged to be on board.
In December six major Australian banks said that they would be supporting Android Pay, including ANZ and Westpac. But while Google now has 28 financial institutions signed up, Westpac is no longer one of them.
Google senior director of product management, Pali Bhat, told The Australian Financial Review to “stay tuned” signalling that an agreement with Westpac might still be in the works.
“We’re working closely with Westpac to make Android Pay available to Westpac card holders,” he said.
“We want to deliver the best possible mobile payments experience for Android users in Australia. Given that there are a quite a few moving parts, it means significant joint testing with our partners… and we look forward to welcoming more banks and partners later this year.”
But Mr Bhat could not give a timeline on when there would be partnerships with other major banks.
Banks on board
Despite this, many Australians will also be able to access Android Pay through financial institutions such as Macquarie Bank, Bank Australia, Bank of Sydney and the Teachers Mutual Bank.
ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said this move was the next step in the bank’s attempts to “build the best digital bank for our customers”.
“Given Android is the most popular smartphone operating system in Australia, we know today’s announcement will be well received by both our retail and merchant customers,” Mr Elliott said.
“There is value in being a leader… this is a long game, but we want to be engaged and we want to be part of it from the very start. We’ve focused all our resources on being first.”
The launch of Android Pay is also likely to be more significant for the future of payments than Apple Pay, thanks to the wider array of devices it will be available on, including the Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
Android Pay is essentially a more secure and more convenient Google Wallet. It is a mobile wallet that can store credit cards, debit cards and loyalty cards, letting users pay for things with their phone.
Leave the wallet at home
“Whether you’re heading out for Sunday brunch or doing the weekly shop, your Android phone will be all you need as you walk out the door,” Mr Bhat said in a blog post.
“In a few days time, you will also be able to speed through checkout using Android Pay in your favourite apps — including Catch of the Day, Deliveroo, Domino’s, EatNow, Hotel Tonight, Kogan.com and many more.”
To use Android Pay, download the app from the Google Play store and enter your credit or debit card details. You can also use the camera on your phone to speed up this process by taking a photo of your card in the app and it will automatically fill out the details – so long as you’re with a participating bank.
“You will be able to use Android Pay everywhere contactless payments are accepted, including your favourite shops like Coles, Domino’s, 7-Eleven and more,” the blog post read.
“Just wake your phone and tap as you would with your card… And businesses across the country with contactless terminals don’t need to do anything else to be able to accept Android Pay in store.”
Other financial institutions that have signed up to Android Pay include the Central West Credit Union, First Option Credit Union, Mystate Bank, The Mac and the Sydney Credit Union.
Bendigo Bank and ING Direct customers will also be able to use it soon and other in-app partners that will be launching soon include The Iconic, Menulog and Clipp.
In late April Apple Pay got a leg up on its Android competitor in the local market, signing up ANZ to the platform, after the service launched in November last year.
To date ANZ has not disclosed figures on how the uptake of Apple Pay is going, but Mr Elliott said it had been very successful.
“After launching Apple Pay we saw a huge uplift in customer acquisition… We’ll see the same thing with Android Pay,” he said.
“Once people start [using mobile wallets] they love it. Just like what we’ve seen with pay wave.”
A large portion of the population are still unable to use Android or Apple Pay, with the big four making up 80 per cent of all credit cards linked to mobile payments.
ANZ has been thought of as behind the game when it comes to digital technology, and last month said it still was not planning to do a core systems upgrade, but it has been increasingly trying to change this perception.
In March the bank poached Google Australia boss Maile Carnegie, who took on the role of digital banking group executive.
Mr Elliott, who recently had knee surgery and used his mobile wallet to pay for it, said on Thursday that the bank will continue to work with Google going forward.
“Leadership means investment, but it also means a willingness to be first,” he said.
“This is just the beginning… I can’t even comprehend where this will lead to.”