With Android Pay, you can start leaving your wallet behind, as anyone with a compatible device can pay for goods and services with a simple tap of their phone against a compatible point-of-sale terminal with near-field communication (NFC). Here’s everything you need to know about Android Pay, including the places and banks that support it.
New features coming in a future update
If there’s a usability barrier to Android Pay, it’s finding retailers that accept it. That’s not a surprise, exactly, given brick-and-mortar stores’ slow adoption of contactless payments. Payments research firm Let’s Talk Payments estimates that only about 1.3 million out of roughly 13.9 million terminals in the U.S. support NFC — but it’s nonetheless annoying when you’re trying to find a smoothie joint that’ll let you tap and pay. Thankfully, Android Pay may be getting an update that’ll alleviate that issue once and for all: a map of nearby NFC terminals.
If unpublished code in version 1.4 of the Android Pay app is anything to go by, Google’s payment client will soon gain the ability to show, in an overhead map view, NFC-equipped payment terminals nearby. They will show up as brightly colored markers within a Google Maps interface, indicating clearly which retailers and restaurants within walking distance accept Android Pay.
That’s not all that will be part of a future Android Pay app update. The app is adding integration with greater London’s public transit authority, Transport for London. Users who choose to link their accounts will be able to budget their travel spending, review individual trip expenses, and view a map of the stops they’ve taken between bus and tube stations.
Loyalty signups, too, are set to gain improvements. Work-in-progress code points to the addition of streamlined account creation for third-party merchants, which means you’ll be able to sign up for a loyalty program within the Android App without having to enter your contact details.
The banks and credit cards that support it
Three of the top four banks support Android Pay. JP Morgan and Chase lags behind Wells Fargo, Citi, and Bank of America in adopting the Google’s mobile payment framework, and that’s because the company is focusing on its own Chase Pay service. If you’re desperately waiting for Chase to support Android Pay, you won’t have to wait longer than the end of the year.
We tweeted at Chase bank to see when Android Pay support would come. The company’s support team responded, saying that Android Pay support will come “this year.” That could mean from June to December, but hey — at least you know it’s coming.
Bank of America is installing NFC into their ATMs around the country, and customers will be able to withdraw cash with just their phone. The bank plans to have Android Pay supported ATMs around the country by the end of the month.
MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover support Android Pay. Most banks that already support Apple Pay will back Google’s service, since both use similar NFC technology for payments.
Google added 55 banks and credit unions in May 2016, including A+ Federal Credit Union, Achieva Credit Union, Affinity Federal Credit Union, Alliant Credit Union, America’s Credit Union, Andrews Federal Credit Union, and many more. With these additions, Android Pay now supports a total of 102 banks and credit unions. Click here to check out the full list.
Back in September 2015, when Android Pay launched, Google specifically mentioned American Express, Bank of America, Discover, Capital One, Citi, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions Bank, TD Bank, USAA, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bank as partners. You’ll also be able to store credit, debit, gift, and loyalty cards on Android Pay.
Like most NFC payment systems, Android Pay comes with all the necessary security, including a way to shut down devices that have been stolen, so nobody can use your card. The system uses tokenization, which processes transactions via individual random account numbers, rather than your actual credit or debit card account number. In-app purchases are as safe as its NFC contactless counterpart.