Digital dollars: Apple Pay adds 66 banks while Android Pay comes to apps

Google is making a push to catch up with Apple thanks to Android Pay support in apps. But where is Android Pay for Google-powered smartwatches with NFC chips?

Android Pay in apps.png

Tech companies continue to vie for attention with their digital wallet offerings. Today is a perfect example: Apple Partners has a slew of additional financial partners and Android Pay is finally moving to apps.

9to5 Mac caught the news on Tuesday that Apple Pay has 66 additional banks and credit unions supporting its payment service in the U.S. That brings the total number of card issues supporting Apple Pay over 850.

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Apple Pay is also adding support for BJ's Wholesale Club cards, which joins Kohl's as the first two retailers to have their store credit cards work with Apple's service.

Google's Android Pay got a later start - or an earlier one if you consider that Google Wallet NFC transactions went live four years ago to little fanfare - but the company is doing what it can to be mobile payment player.

On the Google Android Blog, news hit that Android Pay will be supported in Android apps; something Apple Pay already does on iOS.

That means Android app users can pay for mobile purchases in-app instead of entering credit or debit card information. The same tokenized transaction security of a standard NFC Android Pay purchase applies to the in-app payments.

Google hasn't said how many of its software partners will support Android Pay in their apps. Instead it notes that "in the next few months, you'll see more and more of your favorite apps adding Android Pay..."

To help speed adoption, however, Google is highlighting the first few Android Pay app partners with incentives: $20 off OpenTable, $10 off DoorDash and up to 30 percent off at Vinted when using Android Pay within this apps. Other partners include Instacart, Fancy, Jet.com and Lyft.

To really grow Android Pay, Google knows it has to expand not just usage in the U.S., but abroad as well. The company says that Australia will see the mobile payment service in the first half of 2016 with many of that countries major banks and wherever NFC payments are accepted.

I'd argue it would also help if Android Wear gained NFC support for Android Pay; Some of the smartwatches running Google's operating system have the chip but it can't yet be used for in-store payments. I've owned the Sony Smartwatch 3 for over a year and sadly, the NFC chip is really just taking up space.