Android users in Australia will soon be able to pay for purchases from their smartphone using Android Pay, after Google announced its mobile payments system will come to Australia in "the first half of 2016."
In a major coup for Google Australia the company has also managed to get Australia's banks onside, announcing support from the likes of ANZ, Westpac and St. George. That puts Android Pay a step above rival Apple Pay, which launched in Australia in October in association with American Express, but which is yet to be supported by other financial institutions.
When it arrives on local shores, customers will be able to use Android Pay at tap-and-pay terminals for in-store purchases, much like Apple Pay. The service will allow users to buy items within mobile apps, to store loyalty cards on their phone, and Android Pay can also power third-party apps from banks and other institutions.
On this front, Google Australia says it has been "working closely with many of Australia's major financial institutions -- including ANZ, Westpac, Bank of Melbourne, Bank of South Australia, Bendigo Bank, Cuscal, ING DIRECT, Macquarie Bank, and St. George -- with the aim of bringing Android Pay to their card holders in 2016, and will continue to work with more banks throughout the year."
The platform will support credit and debit cards from both MasterCard and Visa when it launches, and Google says it is working with Eftpos to support their cards on Android pay. While you'll be able to use Android Pay "everywhere contactless payments are accepted," Google is also working with retailers including Coles Supermarkets, 7-Eleven, McDonald's, Gloria Jean's and Telstra ahead of the launch.
Finally, you'll be able to use Android Pay within Aussie apps such as Menulog, Catch of the Day, The Iconic and Kogan, with Google talking up the ease of paying without entering your address or payment details every time you shop.
The announcement comes at a busy time in the mobile payments space, not only because of the recent local launch of Apple Pay. Australian banks are getting in on the action too, launching new app updates to allow their customers to pay direct from their phone using tap-and-pay or to withdraw money from an ATM without a card, using just their mobile.
It's a sign of a broader shift in attitudes towards payments in Australia. According to research released this week, nearly a quarter of Australians surveyed by Commonwealth Bank (24 percent) would prefer to pay for Christmas shopping using just a phone, so they don't need to carry a wallet.
With almost 55 percent of Australians using Android smartphones (according to October data from Kantar Worldpanel), that's a lot of wallets that could soon be staying at home.