Google Wallet, with its integrated Google Pay service, has been officially launched in South Africa and five other markets around the world.
Speaking to South African journalists on Monday, ahead of Tuesday’s launch, the global product director at Google for Google Wallet, Dong Min Kim, said the roll-out is part of a broader plan to make the service available in many more markets around the world.
It follows its launch in July in 39 new markets. South Africa shares this week’s launch cycle with Iceland, Serbia, Qatar, Moldova and Azerbaijan. More countries will follow.
Banking partners in South Africa at launch are FirstRand (which houses First National Bank and Rand Merchant Bank), Absa, Nedbank, Standard Bank, Discovery Bank and Investec.
Min Kim said Google is ramping up the global roll-out of Google Wallet because of a “generational shift” by users away from traditional modes of payment. “It’s created a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine how people pay online and in-store and what people carry in their wallets,” he said.
Google Wallet, he said, “goes beyond just payments”, in that it provides access to ticketing (airline boarding passes, for example, in-store loyalty cards and other services. Available only for Android, Google Wallet “provides fast and secure access to all your everyday essentials”, he added.
Like competitor products such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Huawei Pay, Google Pay requires users to tap to pay with their phones at a point of sale, after which they must authenticate themselves with a fingerprint, their face or a Pin.
Store loyalty cards, event ticketing and boarding passes will be added in South Africa as Google works with partners to bring these to market. Already, global airline partners available to South Africans are KLM, United, Air France and Singapore Airlines. “We’re working on increasing the partner base,” Min Kim said.
How it works
Those who already have a credit or debit card saved to their Google account will have it automatically appear in Google Wallet. All they need to do is set it up for contactless payments by following the steps on the screen, Google said.
If users don’t have a card saved and would like to add a new card to Wallet, they can select the “Add a card” prompt in the carousel at the top of the wallet app page and they will be prompted to review and accept the issuer terms and conditions before use.
Once they have accepted and verified their card information, their cards will be tokenised and ready for use in Google Wallet. They will then be able to use them to tap and pay in stores and pay online wherever the Google Pay or contactless symbol is visible.
Adding digital items to Google Wallet (like boarding passes) is also fairly simple. For example, after completing the purchase of a flight on an airline website, users will see a button labelled “Add to Google Wallet” that will create the digital version of that item in their Wallet. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media