Android Pay, Google’s new mobile payment system, has started rolling out in the United States. The release comes slightly earlier than expected, as the Big G tries to wrest back the headlines from Apple after this week's iPhone 6S launch.
As detailed at the company’s I/O event in May, Android Pay uses Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to allow consumers to make payments at tap and pay terminals, in much the same way as contactless cards and iPhones which support Apple Pay.
The service will work on all Android phones with NFC and which run Android KitKat 4.4 or higher. This includes devices which do not have fingerprint scanners, meaning security is likely to be a concern as Google’s platform rolls out.
For its part, the search giant says that security is at the forefront of Android Pay. As with Apple Pay, it will use a tokenisation method, which means that your credit or debit card details will not be sent with your payment.
A virtual account number will be used instead, which Google says will offer an added layer of security.
Major providers including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover are all on board. Apple announced earlier this week that the latter would work with Apple Pay in the US imminently.
The app can be downloaded now and used in over a million stores in the U.S. It will form part of an update to Google Wallet for existing users. There is no word on when Android Pay will launch here in the UK.