SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s answer to the Apple Pay mobile-payment service is debuting in the U.S., marking a do-over by the company behind the world’s most-used operating system for smartphones.
Android Pay will be similar to Apple Pay, except it works on Android phones rather than Apple’s iPhones. On some Samsung Android phones, it will sit alongside Samsung Pay. All three services let people buy goods at retail stores by tapping their phones against the store’s payment terminal. The user’s debit or credit card on file then gets charged.
Google Wallet, the company’s first attempt in mobile payments, flopped because it didn’t have a big enough network of compatible devices and wireless carriers willing to work with it. Softcard, a rival effort by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, also got little traction. Google Inc. bought much of Softcard’s technology and is combining the two to form Android Pay.
The timing is also better for Android Pay. Apple Pay has raised awareness about mobile payments and more merchants now have equipment capable of accepting the payments.
Android Pay will start rolling out in the U.S. on Thursday, though it might take up to a week for some users to get it from the Android app store. The app will come installed on new, compatible phones from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon — the Softcard partners.
Samsung Pay has been available in South Korea since Aug. 20. A U.S. trial began Aug. 25, with a broader debut planned for Sept. 28. Apple Pay launched in the U.S. last October and expanded to the U.K. this summer.