Google’s Android Pay adds critical mass to mobile payments’ momentum

Last updated: 01 November 2019

Last week Google launched its Android Pay platform in the U.S. This is a pretty momentous step for the mobile payments industry as it sees up to 30% of Smartphone users with mobile-payment enabled mobiles now equipped to tap to pay.

There have been many inroads into mobile payments over the years, but the technology for securing payments and building trust within the industry has taken time to mature. Now with Apple, Google and Samsung (from September 28th) available, we expect that adoption rates will accelerate. We’ve seen how people have taken to contactless payments on credit cards – with £2.5bn spent in the first six months of 2015 in the UK alone – and there is no reason to think that uptake for mobile payments will be any slower, especially as we have our phones on us all the time.

We previously spoke about the differences between Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and so here’s a little bit about how Google’s platform stacks up:

Android Pay is available on all Android devices running 4.4 (KitKat) or above. That’s just over 60% of the Android market according to Google.

It uses tokenization and Host Card Emulation (HCE) to process all payments. HCE is good news for issuers like banks and credit card providers as they can create their own apps that use Android Pay. This means they can keep their own branding, and develop services they know their customers will love.

In more good news for issuers, Google will not charge a fee for using its platform. And what’s great for U.S. consumers is that Android pay supports the four major payment networks—American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa—so loading your card onto the phone won’t be a problem.

Now that the majority of U.S. consumers have access to mobile payments, we’re excited to see how the industry develops. We expect to see many loyalty programmes quickly jump on board. So that means redeeming coupons at your favourite coffee shop or department store, and accessing the many benefits that used to be tied to your card, directly from your phone.

We’re looking forward to seeing how Android Pay is received in the U.S. Today we saw the first mobile payment on Android with Barclays.  It’s clear that we’re at the tipping point for mobile payments now that the main players have launched their platforms.

As new services come online, security will always be top of mind, especially when it comes to payments. That’s why we’ve developed our Trusted Service Hub to help banks, processors, domestic schemes, device makers and mobile operators securely manage user credentials and data at each step of the payments process.

It’s looking like 2016 might be the year that NFC mobile payments finally hits the mainstream, but perhaps you have your own predictions? Let us know either @Gemalto or in the comments below.