Launched stateside roughly a year after digital wallet pioneer Apple Pay, as well as a couple of weeks ahead of Android-supporting rival Samsung Pay, Google’s in-house tap-to-pay mobile platform hasn’t exactly enjoyed an impressive global expansion effort since the fall of 2015.
Advertised far less aggressively than Cupertino’s iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac-compatible app, and lacking the MST technology that makes the Galaxy-only service so convenient, Android Pay has the advantage of working with the bulk of the world’s two billion monthly active Android devices.
Namely, all those running OS version 4.4 and up, with NFC functionality in tow, including a few Wear 2.0 smartwatches. After slowly spreading across markets like the UK, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Poland, New Zealand, Ireland, Japan and Belgium, Android Pay will officially debut in at least five more countries later this year.
The information was confirmed at an I/O 2017 event, and the list includes (in alphabetical order) Brazil, Canada, Russia, Spain and Taiwan. Right off the bat, you’ll notice Google isn’t seeking trailblazing status, merely playing catch-up to Samsung in Brazil, Apple in Taiwan and both rival mobile payment players in Canada, Russia and Spain. Oh, and Samsung Pay has also opened an early access program in Taiwan recently ahead of a no doubt fast-approaching proper nationwide release.
No official word on dates or partners in any of the five markets for Android Pay, but in Russia, for instance, we have reason to believe the service is coming to customers of at least four banks at first, including Sberbank, Alfa, Raiffeisen and Tinkoff.