Google finally released its Apple Pay competitor, Android Pay.
Unfortunately, you can’t use the program. I was able to get the app to install and open on my Nexus 5 running Android 6.0 (preview).
But the app ended up crashing when I tried to add a card.
I had a similarly disappointing result when I tried to run Apple Pay on my Samsung Galaxy S5.
Fortunately (or sadly if you’re me), I fared better with my wife’s Nexus 5 running Android 5.1.1.
Android Pay looks and feels a lot like Google Wallet. Perhaps the only difference between the two at this point is the fact that Google Wallet allows you to send and receive money from others.
Android Pay is a warehouse for storing bank and credit cards, and merchant loyalty cards.
(I’m not sure why I blurred my LEGO VIP card…you guys should use it to buy LEGOs and I’ll take the rewards.)
The Android Pay cards appear with the card logo, the merchant’s information, and a barcode for full scanning.
I find that scans work about 85% of the time, which is a pretty high success rate.
Paying by card is as easy as touching your device to the payment terminal.
Banking or credit card information isn’t displayed inside the app, and Android Pay assigns a virtual number for handling transactions.
I had about 75% success with Google Wallet when I’d use the app, so I’m “cautiously optimistic” that Android Pay will work a little better.
Android Pay works whenever there’s a NFC pay terminal, but the merchant must also subscribe to the service. That said, Google’s promoting its partnership with several national vendors.
Oh, and one final caveat: Android Pay is only available in the United States for now. Sorry world.
Android Pay will roll out to Google Play in the coming days. But if you want to be an early adopter, click over to APK Mirror and download the app. (Fair warning, as you see above, I had a 33% success rate on getting Android Pay to work. In other words, it’s a crap-shoot as to whether this app will work on your device.)
Update: After updating Google Play Services, I was able to get Android Pay working on my Samsung Galaxy S5. I haven’t looked back. In fact, I actively hunt for retailers using NFC payment terminals, just so I can use my phone instead of a card.