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Report: Google to Launch ‘Android Pay’

Feb. 26, 2015
Personal Finance
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Not satisfied to compete against Apple Pay with its existing Wallet system, Google will launch a new automatic-payments tool called Android Pay,  according to reports Thursday.

The system will debut in May at I/O, Google’s conference for developers, a source told tech blog Ars Technica.

Android Pay will let companies add a payment option to their mobile apps, allowing users to upload credit or debit card information, according to Ars Technica. Payments through that app would then become a single-tap transaction.

Retailers also would be able to add a tap-to-pay feature in their brick-and-mortar stores, the report said.

Unveiled in September, Apple Pay has been an early success for Google’s chief rival in the mobile space.

Apple Pay has deals with Visa, MasterCard and American Express, as well as more than 500 banks. It’s accepted at dozens of major retailers — including Bloomingdale’s, the Disney Store, McDonald’s, Chevron and Walgreens — with more stores, including Starbucks, to come, according to Apple.

[What Does Apple Pay Mean For Small Business Owners?]

Google beat Apple to the mobile-payments punch with Google Wallet in 2011. But Wallet has failed to catch on with retailers and consumers as quickly and widely as Apple Pay has.

The “source close to the matter” told Ars Technica that Google will not be partnering with anyone else on Android Pay. But another report said Google is working with payment company Square on a new system called Plaso.

Four sources told tech blog The Information that the two companies have been testing the system since last fall. It would let users of Google’s Android operating system simply speak their initials at participating cash registers to make a payment, according to the report.

Whatever the details, it’s almost certain Google will ramp up its mobile-payments efforts soon. Mobile point-of-sale payments have become the norm in countries like Japan and South Korea, but remain a niche market in the United States, offering plenty of room for growth.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @doug_gross and on Google+.

Image via iStock.