Starbuckss mobile payment service is slightly outpacing Apples

People actually love getting their coffee more quickly. Starbucks, which has operated its own mobile payments service since 2011, is the market leader to its implementation of mobile payments users, beating out Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, according to a new reporter from eMarketer out this morning. However, Starbucks’ result over Apple Pay is only a small one- in 2017, it had 20.7 million U.S. users compared with Apple Pay’s 19.7 million. And that gap will remain small this year, with 23.4 million using Starbucks’ mobile payments compared with 22 million using Apple Pay.

The broad adoption of the Starbucks mobile pay service is not only due to speed and convenience that the barcode-based payment system offers – it’s also because payments are tied to loyalty, and the Starbucks app is where customers can monitor and manage their card balance and their” superstar rewards .” In addition, Starbucks has the benefit of being able to offer a consistent payments experience across its stores- there’s never a question in consumers’ minds as to whether they can use its mobile pays service. They know they can.

Other mobile proximity payment services don’t have the same advantage, as many retailers still don’t offer pay terminals that support the tap-to-pay services like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

According to eMarketer’s forecast, 23.4 million people ages 14 and older will use the Starbucks app to make a point-of-sale purchase at least once every six months, compared with 22 million who will use Apple Pay, 11.1 million who will use Google Pay, and 9.9 million who will use Samsung Pay.

Those numbers will increase across the board through 2022, but the rankings will remain the same- with Starbucks then seeing 29.8 million users to Apple Pay’s 27.5 million.

However, this forecast appears to be discounting the impact of the recent expansion of Apple Pay, which will allow users to send payments to friends through iMessage. When you receive this fund, it’s added to an Apple Pay Cash card in your iPhone’s Wallet, which can then be used in stores, in addition to in apps or online. This built-in payments service inside one of the largest messaging platforms could prompt more users to adopt Apple Pay, even if they hadn’t before.

Another note: it seems which services are more popular than others is also tied to how long they’ve been around.

Apple Pay launched before Samsung and Google Pay, and is now accepted at more than half of U.S. merchants. Google Pay isn’t as widely accepted, but is pre-installed on Android, which will help it grow. Samsung Pay, meanwhile, has the lowest adoption in terms of users, but is most accepted by merchants, tells eMarketer.

The rankings of the various pay services wasn’t the only notable find from eMarketer’s new report.

The analysts also found that this year, for the first time, more than 25 percent of U.S. smartphone users ages 14 and older, will have utilized a mobile pay service at the least once every six months. The number of pays users will increase by 14.5 percentage to reaching 55 million by the end of 2018, the firm estimates.

But over the next several years, these top four services will see their share of the mobile payments drop, even as their user numbers grow. That’s because they’ll face increased competition from other new payment apps, including those from merchants themselves.

“Retailers are increasingly making their own payment apps, which allow them to capture valuable data about their users. They can also build in rewards and perks to boost customer loyalty, ” eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu says.

eMarketer’s forecast( paywalled) is based on an analysis of third-party data, including Forrester, Juniper Research, and Crone Consulting’s data on U.S. mobile pays users.

Note: Updated after publication to clarify the data is focused on U.S. mobile users

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Say goodbye to Android Pay and hello to Google Pay

As we reported last month, Google is uniting all of its different payment tools under the Google Pay brand. On Android, however, the Android Pay app stuck with its existing brand. That’s changing today, though, with the launch of Google Pay for Android. With this, Google is rolling out an update to Android Pay and introducing some new functionality that the company hopes will make its pay service ubiquitous — both in stores and on the internet.

In addition, Google is also launching a redesign of the Google Wallet app for sending and requesting money, and it’s be called Google Pay Send. Users in the U.S. and U.K ., though, will also soon be able to use the Google Pay app for sending and requesting money. New users can download the Google Pay app today and existing Android Pay users will get updated over the course of the next few days.

At first glance, the new Google Pay app is basically a redesign of Android Pay, with a appear and feel that adheres closer to Google’s own Material Design guidelines than the original. In terms of functionality, there isn’t all that much here that’s new. One notable change, though, is that the Google Pay home screen now shows you relevant stores around you where you can pay with Google Pay. That list is personalized, based on previous stores where you used the service, as well as your location. In addition, the home screen shows you all of your recent purchases and you can still add all of your allegiance cards to the app.

As Google’s VP of Product Management for Payments, Pali Bhat, told me, the team really wanted to make it extremely easy to get started with Google Pay and use the service to pay for goods online and in the real world — and to do so with as little friction as possible. That means that users who bank with Bank of America in the U.S. or a Google partner like Mbank in Poland can set up Google Pay right from their bank’s app without having to install Google Pay. Once that’s put in, you can simply pay with Google Pay online and out in the real world.

Similarly, if an online app or website wants to support this, developers can call a Google API to see if a given user has Google Pay enabled and can then accept pays through Google Pay( which still get routed through the developers’ regular payment processors like Stripe or Braintree ).

“We give developers a very simple API to enforce Google Pay, ” Bhat noted. “The API is simple because we are not processing that payment. We just securely pass the credentials to whoever is doing it.” Apps like DoorDash, Airbnb, Hotel Tonight and others already support this feature today.

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Zelle users are finding out the hard way theres no fraud protection

Scammers have taken to Zelle, the Venmo alternative backed by U.S. banks, to victimize consumers who believe the service includes the same protections they’ve come to expect from PayPal. A number of clients report having lost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, over Zelle, when they used it for transactions with people they didn’t know- like tickets bought off a Craigslist posting, for example.

Here’s how the scam works. The seller will ask the buyer to pay them through Zelle instead of PayPal- the latter which has long been the standard for the kind of anonymous transactions.

In many cases, the buyer isn’t well informed Zelle, but they do a little googling to read up on it. They discover it’s a digital payments service that’s backed by their bank, which builds them feel more comfortable. Zelle is also may be in some banks’ mobile applications themselves, which adds to that sense of trust.

The buyer , now feeling that Zelle is a legit service, then transfers the money, assuming their bank will step in to assist if anything goes wrong. After all, they’re sending money directly to another bank account- so surely the dealer knows they could be tracked down and caught if they attempt fraud ?!

Unfortunately, that’s not proving to be the case.

The seller- actually a scammer- will keep the money, then shut down their bank account, and disappear. The tickets, or whatever else the latter are purportedly selling, never arrive. In other instances, the scammer may not even need to go to that extreme because the victim’s bank just tells their client there’s nothing they can do, since the customer had authorized the Zelle transaction.

As one victim told TechCrunch, the only thing their bank did was call the seller’s bank to follow up on the matter, and then the victim’s bank sent a letter stating that they would not help.

When the victim tweeted to Zelle Support to help in desperation, Zelle merely responded by sharing a connection that explains why Zelle should only be used with family and friends.

If you scroll down Zelle’s Twitter timeline, you’ll insure a number of answers like that to similar inquiries.

Another victim of this swindle recently posted about his experience on Reddit to caution others.

After negotiating on the cost for some concert tickets, he suggested to the buyer that he could send his pay electronically as the seller was outside of township.( The scammer was very good at social engineering too, if you read the whole story .)

The post reads 😛 TAGEND

“I transferred him fund through Zelle. I employed Wells Fargo, he utilized Bank of America. He gave me his name, email address and phone number. He said this was the service he was most comfortable with. Since I had use it before- and he gave me all the details- I wasn’t that concerned with it. The transfer went through. He called me about 5 minutes later to corroborate he received the money and said he was logging into Ticketmaster, and I’d have the tickets in the next five minutes ….. I didn’t received from the governments and called him back, he answered right away and said he had initiated the transfer and it might just take a few minutes.”

Of course, then the scammer disappeared. His phone was to turn; he never responded to any emails. He was gone.

We spoke to the victim to find out how the questions was handled by his bank.

“My bank, Wells Fargo, as well as the other bank employing the Zelle system, Bank of America, were not able or willing to do anything after I was scammed, ” the victim( who prefered to remain anonymous ), told us. “I submitted grievances with the[ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] and eventually received a’ courtesy’ rebate from Wells Fargo, ” he said.

A third victim told us she was victimized $2,000 through one of these scams after trying to buy event tickets on Craigslist.

Again, the dealer asked the main victims to employ Zelle.

“He actually had a Bank of America account, as well, which was also less alarming since you had to log into Bank of America to initiate the transfer, ” she told TechCrunch. “After transferring the money, he shut down his Bank of America account. I have filed two claims with Bank of America, who has denied any form of protection or rebate because I initiated the pay, ” she said.

She’s since filed a ticket with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, but doesn’t believe anything will come of it.

Another victim, a USAA customer, published a warning about Zelle to the bank’s community forums site after being defrauded- again, while trying to purchase concert tickets from a seller.

They write 😛 TAGEND

“I was hesitant but noticed it was available through USAA, so I figured it must be a trusted app and that USAA would stand behind anything that is available right there in their USAA app! Right after I sent my pay, the marketer stopped responding to me and would not answer any telephone call or texts, and never transferred the tickets to me on Ticketmaster like was promised.”

As of the time of posting, USAA has not helped the victim get their fund back.

These are not isolated incidents. The banks are doing nothing to help victims of Zelle scams and seem to have no legal obligation to do so. Instead, they’re saying because the buyer “authorized the transaction, ” there’s nothing they can do to help recoup the stolen money.

What consumers don’t realize is that Zelle is actually more like Venmo than PayPal- meaning it’s merely meant to be used for peer-to-peer digital pays with people you trust, like friends and family. Just like Venmo, Zelle does not offer fraud protection for buyers or dealers on its transactions.

Scammers know people aren’t well informed this, because Zelle is brand-new. They also know that people will choose to trust Zelle because it’s backed by their bank, and because it’s a feature within their bank’s own app.

What’s worse is that Zelle is not making an effort to spell out how it’s different from PayPal on its website.

While this information is disclosed in Zelle’s FAQ, it’s not one of the “featured” FAQ’s on Zelle’s homepage, where it would be more noticeable.

The Zelle homepage does not at all make it clear that this is a payments service for family and friends only- it only says you can use Zelle to send money to “almost anyone you know” – speech that reads more like marketing speak than a strict warning that you should, well, actually know them .

Venmo, by comparison, specifically uses the wording “friends and family” when explaining its service.

Reached for commentary, Zelle simply stated that it’s not entailed for the kind of transactions between buyers and sellers.

“Consumers should not use Zelle for transacting with people they do not know and/ or aren’t sure they will get what they paid for- for example, items bought from an online bidding or sales site, ” a spokesperson said. “Zelle is not responsible for goods or services that are not received or are received but do not meet expectations.”

That’s good information to know, but it’s coming too late for many of Zelle’s early adopters. And as term gets around that Zelle and the banks are not helping people who were scammed, it was eventually damage Zelle’s reputation and send users back to PayPal, where buyer protections exist.

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Stripe is ending support for bitcoin payments on April 23

Payments platform Stripe will stop supporting bitcoin in April, quoting the cryptocurrency’s volatility and long transaction times , among other things. It’s a logical decision, but one likely to indignation the easily provoked crypto-crowd.

The problems with BTC are hard to deny for anyone who use it regularly. For one thing, entering a transfer into the blockchain may take hours, which is already a bummer for merchant transactions, but during that postpone the value of the transferred BTC may also have changed considerably, making the incorrect fiat dollar value.

Fees have also increased as the value of BTC has risen, something that has stifled commerce and trading use the coin elsewhere as well.

As Stripe’s Tom Karlo points out, the truth is that BTC has evolved to become an asset rather than a currency, and is simply unsuitable for transactions that need to resolve in seconds or minutes at the outside. The platform, he writes, has insured a major decrease in BTC transactions.

Stripe started taking bitcoin back in 2014, after the coin first topped $1,000 and people genuinely started taking it seriously. And the company insists that it remains optimistic about the cryptocurrency ecosystem and name-checks a few projects: Lightning, OmiseGO, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin. And, Karlo writes, Stripe may support Stellar, in which the company has a stake.

Diehard bitcoin types may complain that the option should be remain, that it expenses little to accommodate those who choose to use this method, and that this may be a short-sighted, self-fulfilling prophecy that farther seals the fate of BTC as a transaction medium.

But it seems to me that Stripe is merely being realistic and embracing the ideals of decentralized currency that bitcoin has advanced, though which it failed to attain. Bitcoin must die( as a route to buy stuff, anyway) that cryptocurrency may live!

Stripe is supportive of bitcoin will end on April 23, so live it up until then.

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U.S. banks Venmo alternative, Zelle, moved $75B last year, says 100,000 people enroll daily

Zelle, U.S. banks’ answer to mobile pay services like PayPal and Venmo, claims that virtually 100,000 consumers, on average, are signing up for its services per day. The company also painted a picture of growing traction , noting it processed over 247 million payments in 2017, an increase of over 45 percent year-over-year, totalling $75 billion in peer-to-peer pays, up from $55 billion the year prior.

However, in 2016, Zelle was not “Zelle.”

The service was previously called clearXchange, having grown out of consortium of top banks, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase, and operated by the bank-owned entity Early Warning . The banks had been working to develop their own alternative to popular mobile payment apps for years, but those efforts only recently began picking up momentum.

Last summer, the group announced that over 30 U.S. banks were now backing Zelle, as it prepared to launch under its new branding for consumers. Its standalone mobile app followed in autumn 2017.

Today, Zelle says there are more than 60 financial institutions on board, including 50 percentage of U.S. demand deposit account, and it has expanded its partner ecosystem to include ACI Worldwide, CGI, D3 Banking Technology and IBM. They joined existing partners FIS, Fiserv, and Jack Henry& Associates.

Zelle believes these relationships and forthcoming core processor and system integrator partnerships will see it connecting to even more banks and signing up more customers in 2018.

Because of its deep integration with banks’ own technology, and the clearXchange network it was built on top of, Zelle was already processing more than double the pay volume of Venmo as it went to launch under its new branding.

In PayPal’s third quarter 2017 earnings, the company reported that Venmo processed approximately $30 billion in pays over the past 12 months. Or, in other words, Zelle is now processing more than double the payment volume of Venmo.

Despite Zelle’s sizable chunk of p2p pay processing, it’s less clear to what extent U.S. customers are aware of Zelle.

To introduce the app and brand to U.S. users, Zelle has been airing zany Tv commercials- some that may have cost $ 500,000 to over a million a place, Reuters reports- to introduce the service and the name to U.S. consumers.

The ads’ goal is not inevitably even to get the viewer to go and download the Zelle app.

In fact, in the commercial featuring rapper and “Hamilton” starring Daveed Diggs making an ATM run, he laments, “I don’t need any more apps, you guys. I don’t know.”

Another person then reacts, “it’s in lots of banking apps- likely right on your phone.” The phase being that: by the way, you already have access to Zelle, so why don’t you use it instead ?

Though Zelle has the advantage of its banking partners and integration, it’s too soon to count out its rivals.

Venmo, for example, has been expanding beyond social payments to include the world of online shopping. In October, the company announced that Venmo would now work at over two million online U.S. retailers- almost everywhere PayPal is accepted online today. And both services will support instant bank transfers , to limit the appeal of Zelle and retain their existing users.

Zelle says its service is available on more than 95 million phones, but isn’t saying how many people actually use it on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

PayPal reports its year-end outcomes on January 31, which will give us a more current picture of how Venmo stacks up.

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WhatsApp has launched person-to-person payments into beta in India

WhatsApp has begun testing a new pays feature in India that will allow people to send money to other WhatsApp users, omitting merchant accounts. The feature is now at beta, according to sources familiar with the company’s schemes, but hasn’t been publicly announced because it’s not widely available at this time.

The company has been working on is supportive of a payments feature for some time, which would take advantage of UPI( Unified Payments Interface) and include support by a number of Indian banks, including State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank.

Beta testers have now found that this functionality is live, with a large list of supported banks displayed in the WhatsApp user interface.

Image credit: iPhoneHacks

According to screenshots posted to Twitter and elsewhere, including this post from the blog iPhoneHacks, those who have gained access to the new functionality “il be seeing” a payments feature appear in their WhatsApp Settings menu.

Users must then configure the feature by first verifying their telephone number via SMS and choosing a bank. The option to send a payment is then can be found at the main WhatsApp interface, in the same region where you can also share a photo, video, file, contact or place into your chat session.

The Facebook-owned company had received approval from the Indian government to integrate UPI into its messaging service last July in order to implement pays, according to The Economic Times.

The addition puts WhatsApp into rivalry with other messaging services that already support payments, including the recently launched Tez from Google and Tencent-backed Hike , for example, as well as digital wallet platform Paytm, which expanded into messaging in order to take on WhatsApp more directly.

However, WhatsApp’s support for pays is highly foreseen because of the app’s huge popularity among Indian users. India is WhatsApp’s largest marketplace with over 200 million users active daily users. In fact, it’s so heavily used in that country that it’s even led to issues as Indian grapple with the social norms involving daily messaging ranging from phones’ storage filling up with “good morning” messages, to drama over exiting family group chats .

The potential for WhatsApp to predominate Indian P2P pays is strong, bearing in mind the fact that millions of people have come online in the region thanks to lower-cost data schemes and cheap smartphones. The country even surpassed the U.S. for combined iOS and Android downloads for the first time in Q4 2017, according to App Annie, as smartphone adoption is surging.

We understand that WhatsApp will let users know when P2P pays becomes more widely available in India, after the best testing stage completes.

WhatsApp declined to comment on the launch.

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Commerce platform iZettle raises $47M at a $950M valuation

iZettle — the commerce platform based out of Stockholm that competes against companies like Square, Paypal and SumUp to provide card transactions use smartphones and tablets as well as related accounting services — has raised another EUR4 0 million ($ 47 million) as it approaches a$ 1 billion valuation. CEO and co-founder Jacob de Geer told TechCrunch the money will go towards expanding into more marketplaces beyond the 12 where it currently operates in Europe and Latin America.

The company declined to disclose its valuation, which last was at EUR5 00 million( about $584 million) in its Series D.

“It’s absolutely an upround, ” De Geer said in an interview. “We tend to have an internal saying that the valuation of the company is the sum of all the problems that we solved, and we’ve solved millions of those so the valuation should be in line with that.”

However, Swedish publication Dagens Industri, which reported rumors of the funding yesterday, pegged the valuation at the time at $948 million (8 billion Swedish crowns ), and we have confirmed that figure with our own sources.

“What you see right now is a proof point that the company is doing exceptionally well, ” De Geer said. “In the last couple of months, we’ve had significant growth that led to taking the decision to accelerate the business.”

As for which countries it may tackle next, he said that Central and Eastern Europe were “absolutely” in iZettle’s sights alongside more growth in Latin America.

“It’s interesting to see how Poland, for example, is very well advanced in contactless pays, ” which many see as a key driver to less cash use and more card use in general. “It’s a big market and very mature.”

This latest equity funding is led by previous backer Dawn Capital, and the committee is also brings a new, solid institutional investor into the mixture for iZettle, the Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, alongside other existing( but unnamed) shareholders.

Past investors into iZettle have included the Spanish banking giant Grupo Santander( whose backing fuelled iZettle’s move into Mexico and Brazil ), American Express, MasterCard, Intel, Index Ventures, Northzone, 83 North and Creandum , among others. De Geer said that iZettle has raised around EUR2 00 million ($ 235 million) in equity funding to date.

De Geer declined to give any specific numbers on growth — quoting the fact that iZettle will soon close accounts for the year and report numbers then in accordance with Swedish statute. As a marker, however, the company noted a 60 percent rise in revenues in its last coming fiscal year and expected to narrow its loss year. In FY 2016 it had revenues of 643 million Swedish crowns ($ 76 million ), up from SKr4 02 million in 2015; its net loss was SKr2 28 million versus SKr2 95 million in 2015.

De Geer said iZettle is strong in the UK in particular — which is notable not just because the UK is a large market for commerce, but because it’s also highly competitive, with Square choosing it earlier this year as its first point of European expansion.

De Geer said one key reason iZettle is grow so much is because it’s doing more than only pays for its chiefly SMB customer base. “Our commercial and business platform devotes us the possibility of cross-selling other solutions, ” he noted.

Those other services include cash advances and invoicing, with more to come. iZettle has been investing this year in machine learning and other AI tech( partly by way of a loan from the European Investment Bank) and that is helping the company run assessment of risks for cash advances and potentially will be used more for supplementary products down the line.

“We are learning! ” he said in reference to the company’s push into machine learning. One of the more interesting applications of AI has been in financial services, used to assess risk for loans( this is what another loans platform, Kabbage, has built its business on for example ). Now iZettle is looking at how it can use its deep learning technology to develop other services it can cross-sell in areas like client data and analytics.

This expanded opportunity, in fact, was what attracted iZettle’s newest investor.

“We invest heavily in companies contributing to sustainable economic growth and are impressed by how iZettle has levelled the playing field for small businesses, ” said Per Colleen, head of fundamental equities at The Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, in a statement. “We believe in iZettle’s long-term development opportunity through their data-rich technology platform, built for scalability be included with five years of unique insights about the needs of small businesses, which induces it an attractive investment case.”

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Sellers can now invoice buyers through PayPals new chat extension for Messenger

PayPal and Facebook are expanding their integratings today with the launch of an extension for Messenger that allows PayPal marketers to invoice purchasers directly through private messaging. The feature is ideal for utilize with Facebook’s numerous Buy and Sell groups as well as Facebook Marketplace, in addition to being an easy way to send PayPal invoices in general.

The launch comes on the heels of last month’s debut of person-to-person PayPal pays in Messenger, and the arrival of PayPal’s first customer service Messenger bot for handling client questions and requests for help.

The two companies had been working closely together prior to that, too, including information a partnership announced last year that allowed U.S. customers to shop online merchants via their Messenger bots, then transact in the app via PayPal.

This time, the focus is on changing small business transactions and those between buyers and sellers into Messenger.

The new PayPal chat extension allows a seller establishing and send their invoice without leaving the their conversation, so the purchaser can act on it immediately. To use the extension, sellers open the extension tray in Messenger, select PayPal, then create a simple invoice by filling in details like item name, description, price and sum. The invoice can also include a photo.

When the buyer receives the invoice, they just press “Pay with PayPal” to complete the transaction. If they’re signed into OneTouch, they can checkout without having to re-authenticate with their password.

Like other PayPal transactions, those taking place over Messenger are covered by PayPal Purchase Protection for Buyers– meaning, when the invoice is issued and paid, purchasers are protected.

PayPal says the Messenger integration is only one of other partnerships it has planned to help make commerce easier wherever transactions are occurring, but doesn’t have any other deals it’s preparing to announce at this time.

Pay with Google goes live, allowing mobile users to pay with any card on file, not just those in Android Pay

Google announced today it’s launching a new style to pay on mobile devices, using any card you have on file- including those saved to your Google Account via products like Google Play, YouTube, Chrome, or Android Pay. This “pay with Google” option ties all these saved pay options together in a single interface, which app manufacturers and retailers can then implement employing only a few lines of code.

The technology making this possible, the Google Payment API, was first announced this May at Google’s I/ O developer conference.

The larger idea here is to construct checkout speedier for mobile users and increase conversions for retailers, by allowing Google users to tap into any payment card a client has on file with Google, rather than those they’ve specifically saved to Android Pay. The feature will also make it easier for customers to shop use Google Assistant, the company noted earlier this year.

“Payments is a key capability of the user’s Google account, ” Pali Bhat, Vice President of Payments at Google, told TechCrunch. “Our goal is to enable users to pay with their Google account across devices, platforms and interfaces.”

When you opt to check out using “pay with Google, ” you’ll be presented with a list of payment cards saved in your Google account. To continue, you only tap the card you want to use, and Google sends the information collected along with your shipping address to the merchant, who then manages the rest of the transaction.

In addition, Google partnered with over 40 pay providers to build integrations simpler for merchants who want to offer “pay with Google.”

The payment providers- including PayPal’s Braintree, Stripe, Vantiv, Worldpay, Adyen, and Groupe Paysafe- will continue to process the transactions as before. Other partners are being added soon, including ACI, Assist, Ebanx, First Data, Global Payments, GMO, IMSolutions, and TapPay.

Because the option necessitates merchants to use the Google Payment API, the “pay with Google” option is not yet available everywhere. But Google has lined up a long list of popular services that will offer the faster checkout to clients via their apps and mobile websites, when loaded in the Chrome browser.

At launch, this list of supported services includes Doordash, Eat2 4, Instacart, Kayak, Postmates, Wish, and others, but will expand to include others like Airbnb, Papa John’s, StubHub, Deliveroo, and many more in the near future.( See below ).

The API is also now available globally, bringing it to new markets like Brazil for the first time with partners like iFood and Magazine Luiza, for example.

For now, Pay with Google works within mobile apps and Chrome, but that could change in the future.

“We are starting with Chrome but plan to bring this experience to other browsers as well. Stay tuned, ” said Bhat.

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Google debuts Tez, a mobile payments app for India that uses Audio QR to transfer money

After several weeks of speculation and leaked details, today Google officially unveiled its first big foray into mobile payments in Asia. The Android and search giant has launched Tez, a free mobile wallet in India that will let users link up their phones to their bank accounts to pay for goods securely in physical stores and online, and for person-to-person money transfers with a new twisting: Audio QR, which employs ultrasonic sounds to let you exchange fund, bypassing any need for NFC.

“Send money home to your family, divided a dinner bill with friends, or pay the neighbourhood chaiwala. Build all pays big or small, immediately from your bank account with Tez, Google’s new digital payment app for India, ” Google notes in its information portal about the new app.

Tez is Google’s play to replace cash transactions and become a most central part of how people pay for things, utilizing their mobile to do so. But it’s also a chance for the company to push out some new technologies — like audio QR( AQR ), which lets users transfer money by letting their phones speak to each other with voices — to see how it can induce that process more frictionless, and therefore more attractive to utilize than cash itself. More on AQR below.

Tez is launching today on iOS and Android in the country and “il be seeing” Google connecting up with several major banks in the country by way of UPI( Unified Payments Interface) — a payment criterion and system backed by the government in its move to bring more integrated banking services into a very fragmented market. There will also be phones coming to the market from Lava, Micromax, Nokia and Panasonic with Tez preloaded, the company said.