Google has made its mobile payments system, Android Pay, available at more than one million locations in the United States. The tap-to-pay system will compete with Apple Pay in the burgeoning mobile payments market, estimated to be worth over $1 trillion by 2017.
Technology companies are trying to convince shoppers to use their handsets, rather than plastic cards, to pay for purchases. Android Pay can be used with smartphones that have near-field communication (NFC) capability and Google's KitKat 4.4 and above operating systems.
It will allow users to store their credit card details on their phones, as well as loyalty cards and other data. Existing users of the Google Wallet app can access Android Pay through an update, while new users can download it from the Google Play app store in the coming days.
The Google system will support credit and debit cards from providers including MasterCard, Visa and American Express, as well as banks including Bank of America, with Citigroup and Wells Fargo to follow.
Rather than passing users' credit card details to a retailer, both the Google and Apple systems generate a ‘token’ so the actual data is not revealed during a transaction, reducing the risk of data theft.
Last month, Samsung launched its own mobile wallet service, called Samsung Pay, in South Korea. It will be available in the US from 28 September, with countries including the UK, Spain and China to follow. Google is yet to reveal when Android Pay will be available outside the US.