Launched on May 26, 2011 as Google Wallet before changing its name to Android Pay in 2015 and later Tez before finally settling on the name Google Pay on August 28, 2018, the successful digital payments platform that enables users to make contactless payments and purchases online via android phones, watches and tablets using Near-field communication (NFC) still doesn’t have so much as a toe in Africa in 2022.
Google pay is a digital wallet platform and online payment system developed by Google to power in-app, online, and in-person contactless purchases on mobile devices, enabling users to make payments with Android phones, tablets, or watches. In addition to this, the service also supports passes such as coupons, boarding passes, campus ID cards, car keys, event tickets, movie tickets, public transportation tickets, store cards, health records, and loyalty cards.
Google Pay uses NFC to transmit card information facilitating funds transfer to the retailer. It replaces the credit or debit card chip and PIN or magnetic stripe transaction at point-of-sale terminals by allowing the user to upload these in the Google Pay wallet, no more carrying your two dozen cards.
The app is currently available in 42 countries as of 2021 and none is in Africa. What this means is Africa which is literally the cradle of mobile money can’t fully utilize NFC technology on mobile phones years later.
Personally, I think NFC is better than the available contactless payment technologies like QR Codes in Africa, perhaps local mobile money companies can take advantage of this?
While recently covering ‘Safeboda’s success as a mobile money service, I noted how Safaricom’s M-Pesa is in dire need of competition, once again, perhaps Google Pay is the arch-rival it needs.
I think Samsung Pay, another viable contactless payment only launched in South Africa a few years ago and is also not available in the other countries in the continent which is a bummer.
Although Google has a clear growth outline for Africa, including funding startups, mobile payments just doesn’t seem to be on its radar. Hopefully, this will change.
What are your thoughts? Do we need Google managing financial details in Africa or are we better off without it? Why do you think Google hasn’t launched the wallet in Africa? Check out our Telegram Channel and tell us what you think.