Things have been relatively quiet on the digital wallet expansion front over the past few months, as Apple Pay merely added Taiwan to its country tally of late, Samsung Pay launched widely in Thailand, and Android Pay took a little break after near-simultaneous December debuts in Ireland and Japan.
But today, all of a sudden, global mobile payment service competition heats up once again, with official rollouts in Belgium, Ireland and India. The first tap-to-pay smartphone app to see daylight in Belgium is Google’s universally compatible Android Pay, available on devices running OS version 4.4 or higher, regardless of their manufacturer.
Local supporting banks include BNP Paribas Fortis, Fintro and Hello, with only MasterCard and Visa credit cards eligible off the bat, and debit cards from the aforementioned institutions, plus CBC/KBC, coming soon to the NFC-enabled transaction platform.
Google touts Android Pay acceptance at over “85,000 retail locations throughout Belgium”, from Carrefour to McDonald’s, Media Markt, H&M, and many more.
Meanwhile, Samsung Pay should work literally everywhere in India… eventually, courtesy of both NFC and MST technology, for the time being exclusively rolling out to “early access” program participants. Oddly enough, these beta testers can use MasterCard and VISA debit and credit cards from Axis, HDFC, ICICI, SBI and Standard Chartered, but not American Express, as recently rumored.
Next up, Samsung Pay will reportedly spread its wings to Sweden, but not before Apple Pay continues its own rise to world domination in Ireland. Ulster Bank and KBC are Cupertino’s initial partners around those parts, although customers of competing financial institutions can also join the fun with Boon’s help.