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Google’s Android Pay Gets a Hand from Banks

Google is banking on mobile apps to boost its mobile wallet. The Android Pay parent has linked that service to a handful of banking apps, giving consumers the ability add their cards more quickly to the mobile wallet.

Google said customers of the banks—Bank of America, Bank of New Zealand, Discover, Poland-based mBank and USAA—who also use Android Pay can now “easily add cards to Android Pay from your mobile banking app with just the click of a button,” according to a blog from Pali Bhat, Google’s global head of payment products. Consumers then can use those cards to make purchases via Android Pay.

“Android Pay will also send you a notification after each successful transaction,” Bhat wrote. “This latest collaboration with banks expands Android Pay’s capabilities as an open platform, and moves us closer toward our goal of empowering mobile payments everywhere.”

Android Pay still trails Apple Pay and Samsung Pay in terms of consumer awareness and availability in several recent studies. For instance, First Annapolis said that 89 percent of consumers with compatible Apple Pay phones know about Apple Pay, which compares with 64 percent of consumers with phones capable of Android Pay transactions. Juniper Research, meanwhile, estimates the total consumer base of Android Pay at 24 million by the end of 2017. That compares with 34 million for Samsung Pay and 86 million for Apple Pay.

For actual usage of mobile wallets to increase substantially, Google and other providers likely need to do more than make it easy to add their cards. Incentives can give consumers the push they need to use mobile wallets, Auriemma Consulting Group said in a recent report. Consumers offered incentives use mobile payments inside stores an average of 4.6 times over a one-week period compared with 3.1 times for those not offered incentives. In-app purchases also were higher with incentives—four times a week compared to 2.4 times without them. In a recent Pay Poll on what incentives are most likely to drive mobile wallet usage, loyalty points redeemable in a mobile app ranked second, trailing only cash back.

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