Android Pay begins rolling out today across the US
It’s been a long wait, but Android Pay is officially starting toroll out today in the US. It replaces Google Wallet as Google’s primary NFC-based payment system.
Android Pay works with MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express cards from numerous major US banks. Citibank and Wells Fargo are currently missing, but Google says they will be added soon along with other banks.
The company says Android Pay will work at over one million businesses throughout the US. Some of the named brands include Best Buy, McDonalds, Walgreens and Whole Foods.
Some of the businesses with Android Pay support
Why the change from Google Wallet? Well, the predecessor was simply inconvenient compared to Apple Pay or a real-life wallet.
You had to first open up an app, type a PIN, and then select which card you wanted to use. With Android Pay, you can simply unlock your phone, tap it against an the NFC terminal, and your ready to go. It also supports the fingerprint recognition baked into Android Marshmallow, which should speed up the process even more.
Wallet was also marred by its lack of carrier support after communications giants tried to push their own contactless payments system (mainly SoftCard). This time, Google’s making sure Android Pay is pre-installed on all new phones from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. It wont be on Sprint devices by default, but customers can download it from the Play Store on their own time.
That said, Wallet isn’t completely going away, but its focus will be shifted to its PayPal-like person-to-person transactions.
If you already use Google Wallet, Android Pay will be available via an update to that app. Everyone else can download Android Pay by searching the Play Store. That said, it’s a gradual roll-out over the next few days, so don’t worry if you don’t see it in Google’s app marketplace just yet.