Google flips the switch on Android Pay
Google’s got a new payment system incoming, and recent rumors suggested we’d see Android Pay finally go live next week. Overnight we saw the debut of a new Google Wallet app, which felt like it helped support that idea that Android Pay was nearly ready to debut. Well, it turns out that’s more true than we guessed, as we’re not waiting another week at all: today Google announced the formal start of Android Pay.
Access to Android Pay will arrive gradually over the next few days, and current Wallet users will see it land as an update to that app – that explains why we saw this new Wallet release arrive as an all-new app, rather than an upgrade to the existing one (com.google.android.apps.gmoney vs. com.google.android.apps.walletnfcrel). If you’re new to this whole mobile payment scene and are looking to get started directly with Android Pay, Google says the app should hit the Play Store in a few days – right now it still shows up as Wallet.
We’ll also start seeing Android Pay come pre-installed on NFC-enabled phones from the majority of US carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon). Considering past resistance to Wallet, that’s a welcome change.
Functionally, though, this should be business as usual for those of you familiar with Wallet: link your card to your account, then tap and pay at your convenience. New bank partners are coming soon, but many of you should have no trouble getting started with Android Pay right from the get-go. Even if your card doesn’t work with Android Pay just yet, Wallet should still function while Google negotiates with your bank.