Google readies Android Pay app for launch

Google Wallet isn't going away but it will focus on person-to-person transactions. For everything else, there's Android Pay for NFC transactions using cards from the major issuers.

In the coming days, Google Wallet will be updated to Android Pay.

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The newest version of Wallet in the Google Play Store is essentially a placeholder for the transition and, somewhat confusingly, Google actually has a second Wallet app available as well. That one will be aimed at person-to-person transactions and currency transfers.

The changeover is Google's latest attempt to crack the digital payment market and is a direct competitor to both Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

When Wallet becomes Android Pay, the app will support tap-to-pay NFC transactions in stores on phones running Android 4.4 or better.

Like the original Google Wallet app that debuted in 2011, loyalty and reward cards can also be stored in the app. Tap-to-pay features will initially roll out in the U.S. and work with American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa cards issued by American Express, Bank of America, Discover, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions Bank, USAA, and U.S. Bank.

Google says that Citi and Wells Fargo availability will follow shortly along with Capital One support as well.

Besides being available for download in the Google Play store, Android Pay will be pre-installed on "new NFC-enabled Android phones from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless." Sprint is conspicuously absent from the list.