Google Launches Its Digital Payment Solution Google Wallet In South Africa To Leverage The Ongoing Payments Boom

Google has launched its Google Wallet in South Africa following a boom in digital payments in the country. Google Wallet, formerly Google Pay before its rebranding is a mobile payment system that provides a virtual wallet for users, allowing them access to payment services from their Android devices such as smartphones and smartwatches. Following its rebrand, Google Wallet now acts as more than a payments platform; users can now use their Google Wallets as a plane boarding pass, event pass, COVID-19 vaccination pass, and even a car remote. Talk about an all-in-one solution.

Google’s launch of its digital payments solution follows an increasing shift to digital transactions and contactless spending via smart devices, following the coronavirus pandemic which kept people at home and accelerated the use of payments innovation like these. Thanks to increasing smartphone adoption, solutions like Google Wallet can thrive.

Last year, Apple Pay, a digital payments solution championed by Apple Inc. launched in South Africa last year. Apple Pay makes it possible for South Africans who use Apple’s products like the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch to pay for services on various iOS apps and at Tap and Pay NFC terminals.

Google Wallet works by storing users’ credit or debit card information and allowing them to automatically pay for goods and services by simply tapping their phone against a retail store’s point of sale at the checkout counter.

Google said that following the launch cardholders of FirstRand Bank, Discovery Bank, Investec, Standard Bank, ABSA and Nedbank will be able to add their debit or credit cards to Google Wallet, and will be able to use the service to make contactless payments wherever they are accepted.

Google Wallet was available in 39 countries as of its launch. It is now available in 6 more countries, including South Africa, bringing it to a total of 45 countries. Google Wallet is, however, yet to be available on Wear OS smartwatches in these 6 new additions making payments limited to just phones for now.

Google Wallet will be available for most android devices with at least Android 5.0 Near Field Communications (NFC) support and Host Card Emulation (HCE) support, MyBroadband said. Huawei smartphones will not be able to use Google Wallet as they have been banned by the United States government from using Google Mobile Services (GMS).

While iOS users can access the Google Wallet on their devices via App Store, they cannot use the wallet’s tap-to-pay feature to make contactless payments.

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