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Google Launches Android Pay In Asia, Singapore To Get It First

After launching in both the United States and the United Kingdom, Android Pay, Google's (GOOGL -0.59%) contactless smartphone payment solution is finally making landfall in Asia.

Singapore will be the first Asian market to gain access to Android Pay with Singaporeans able to load Visa (V -2.28%) and MasterCard (MA -2.62%) credit and debit cards from six banks including DBS and Standard Chartered onto their android smartphones.

According to Pali Bhat, Senior Director of Product Management at Google, Singapore was chosen as Android Pay’s third market due to its incredibly high rates of smartphone penetration and established retail sector.

The service, which launches today, requires an Android smartphone running at least version 4.4 KitKat and near field communications (NFC) capabilities.

In a nutshell, Android Pay allows people to purchase goods and services from a whole host of retailers via a contactless payment terminal.

The logic here, as with rival services like Samsung Pay and Apple AAPL -3.61% Pay, is that people can make everyday purchases by simply tapping their phone onto a point-of-sale (POS) system instead of fishing around a handbag for the right amount of change.

To get started, Android users will have to download the Android Pay app from the Google Play store, then proceed to load their chosen cards onto the phone via a somewhat streamlined authentication process. After the cards are loaded, users will have the option of choosing their default card and various payment settings.

When at the till, all the user has to do is “wake” the phone from sleep mode and tap it on the receiver till a big tick is seen on the screen, indicating that the transaction has been approved. Every once in a while though, as an added safety feature, you will have to not only wake your phone, but unlock it as well in order to use Android Pay.

Google claims that Android Pay is more secure than using your actual credit card because Android Pay doesn’t share your actual credit or debit card number with the merchant when you pay. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can use Android Device Manager to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password, or even wipe it clean of your personal information.

Google has reportedly partnered with “thousands” of retailers including 7-11, McDonalds and NTUC Fair Price supermarkets in order to give Android Pay’s launch the oomph that it needs to draw the traditionally fickle Singaporean consumer.

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