Google Wallet, which recently rebranded from Google Pay, is now available in South Africa, the first African country that the service will support.
Google Wallet is a mobile payment system that acts as a virtual wallet, allowing users to make payments and transfer money straight from their Android phones and smartwatches. The recent upgrade has made it possible for users to use the app for more than just payments but also as a plane boarding pass, event pass, COVID-19 vaccination card, and car remote.
At its launch in July, the app was available in 39 countries. South Africa is one of 6 recently added, bringing the total number of countries the service supports to 45.
However, Google Wallet support is not available on Wear OS smartwatches in these new additional regions, so users are limited to making payments and other use cases from their phones only.
Google has listed 6 banks in the country it will collaborate with to provide this service. These are Absa, Discovery Bank, FirstRand (FNB and RMB), Investec, Nedbank, and Standard Bank, all of which will be supported only via Visa cards except for Nedbank and Standard Bank which will have additional support for MasterCard cards.
According to MyBroadband, the service will be available for most Android devices with Android version 5.0 or higher for smartphones, Near Field Communications (NFC) support and Host Card Emulation (HCE) support. However, most Huawei smartphones released in the last few years won’t be able to use the app, as they have been banned from using Google Mobile Services (GMS) by the United States government.
iOS devices, on the other hand, can install the Google Wallet app for storing cards but cannot use its tap-to-pay feature.