Android Pay Now Available for In-App Purchases

Google officials say Android users will soon be able to pay for in-app purchases using Android Pay, the company's mobile payment app.

Android pay for in-app purchases

Users of several Android applications will now be able to pay for in-app purchases using Google's Android Pay mobile payment app.

Currently, about 20 Android apps support the feature including Lyft, OpenTable, Instacart, DoorDash and ParkWhiz. Starting today, users of these apps can pay for purchases and services by tapping the Android Pay button within the app.

The new in-app purchasing features were announced by Pali Bhat, director of product management for Android Pay, in a Dec. 15 post on the Official Android Blog.

Over the next few months, expect to see many more Android apps incorporate the mobile wallet, Bhat wrote.

"No more pulling out your credit card while on-the-go. No more errors thanks to clumsy thumbs," Bhat wrote. "Just tap the Android Pay button in the app, confirm your information, and you're done!"

Along with the launch of the in-app payment capability, Google also announced a promotion to get users to try the new feature. People who use Android Pay with OpenTable dining, for instance, will get $20 off their check. Similarly, Google is offering a $10 discount to people who use Android Pay for a Lyft ride.

In addition, Google announced plans to make Google Pay available to Android app users in other countries as well. Sometime in the first half of 2016 Google will release Android Pay in Australia.

The company is currently working with several banks in that country including ANZ, Bank of Melbourne, ING Direct, Westpac and others, according to Bhat. The goal is to bring Android Pay to MasterCard and Visa cardholders in Australia.

Starting next year, Android users in Australia will be able to use Android Pay to pay for transactions at any location that accepts payments via Near Field Communication (NFC), Bhat wrote.

Google launched Android Pay earlier this year as an alternative to Apple's popular Apple Pay mobile payment app, which allows users to make purchases and payments using their late-model iPhones, iPads or Apple Watch devices.

Android Pay is available via the Google Play mobile application store and also comes pre-installed on all new NFC-enabled Android smartphones from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

The payment app works with major credit cards issued by several large banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and US Bank. The cards can basically be uploaded to Android Pay and used to make purchases from over a million stores in the U.S. that currently accept it.

Android Pay is Google's second attempt at making an impression in the mobile payment space. The company was the first out with a product in this category with Google Wallet back in 2011, but Google struggled to gain much market traction with it.

Following Apple's launch of its Apple Pay technology in October 2014, Google has been making a more serious effort to grab some market share. In addition to trying to get more merchants, banks and payment processors to accept the app, Google also has been working with developers to get them to integrate the technology into their products.

The company's Android Pay site for developers offers an API and tips for developers on how to enable Android Pay in their apps for the purchase of products and services.

But the mobile payments market is getting increasingly competitive.

In October, JP Morgan Chase announced it also is jumping into the expanding mobile payments marketplace with a planned Chase Pay service that will launch in mid-2016.

The Chase Pay service will allow customers to pay for goods and services in-store, in mobile apps or for online purchases at retailers, including Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Shell. The service will be available to some 94 million Chase credit, debit and pre-paid card account holders.

Samsung Pay was launched in the United States on Sept. 28, allowing users to pay for purchases using their Samsung smartphones in just about every retail location through its acceptance of multiple payment systems, NFC to traditional credit card readers and swiping terminals, according to an earlier eWEEK report.

Samsung Pay also integrates Samsung's Knox mobile security platform, which uses one-time codes to authenticate purchases rather than transmitting a user's personal or credit card information. Samsung Pay uses biometric authentication through fingerprint ID and NFC, and also can emulate magnetic-stripe cards for purchases. Samsung Pay only works with that company's latest smartphones.

In November, LG Electronics announced that it will join the mobile payments platform wars with its own LG Pay service in the future to take on Apple Pay, Android Pay, Chase Pay and Samsung Pay.

The company is developing the system with the two largest credit card companies in South Korea, Shinhan Card Co. Ltd. and KB Kookmin Card Co. Ltd. No date has been set for when the new mobile payments services will be available. The LG Pay service will be designed to work on all LG smartphones.

Editor's Note: eWEEK Senior Editor Todd Weiss contributed to this article.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.