Google has begun rolling out its new mobile payment service dubbed Android Pay in the U.S. on Thursday. Android Pay is Google’s answer to Apple’s Apple Pay.
Android Pay works on smartphones that support near-field communication (NFC) and run Google’s KitKat 4.4+ operating system.
What Android Pay does is that it turns user’s smartphones into a digital wallet, containing user’s credit and debit cards, which can be used to buy goods in physical as well as virtual stores.
To ensure a safe and secure transaction, the mobile payment service generates a virtual account number so that the actual credit or debit card data is not revealed while making purchases.
In order to use Android Pay, users will just need to unlock their phone and simply tap the phone next to the payment terminal.
According to Google, Android Pay can be used at more than 1 million locations and stores operated by companies including Aeropostale Inc, Macy’s Inc, GameStop Corp and Staples Inc. It will be extended to more locations over the next few days, Google noted in a blog post.
Android Pay currently supports credit and debit cards from American Express Co, Discover Financial Services, MasterCard Inc and Visa Inc as well as cards issued by banks such as Bank of America and U.S. Bank, among others. Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co would also be added to the list in the next few days.
Google Wallet app users can access Android Pay through an update, while new users will be able to download it from the Google Play app store in the coming days.
The NFC payment system will also come preinstalled on new NFC-enabled Android phones from wireless carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless- the Softcard partners.
Recently, Samsung also launched its own mobile wallet service, dubbed Samsung Pay, in South Korea. The same will be launched in the US on September 28, with countries including the UK, Spain and China to follow.
There’s no word yet on when Android Pay will be rolled out outside the US.