Google Pay is adding NFC payment support to its app in India, nearly three years after launching. Android Police first spotted the development on August 28. Right now, only some Axis Bank and SBI cards on Visa are supported. While the feature has reportedly not rolled out to all users, I was able to see the option to add a card on my Android device.
NFC payments are contactless transactions that work by tapping a credit card or supported smartphone on a POS machine. They are usually quick payments that don’t require punching in PIN codes. Google Pay supports NFC payments in other countries, but since such arrangements require them to tie up with banks (and because Google Pay in India is separate from its counterparts in other countries), card payment has thus far been unavailable.
Why Apple Pay still isn’t here
While digital payment penetration has a long way to go in India, NFC-enabled POS machines that can support quick payments are already largely supported. This means that Apple Pay works in India, but the service isn’t live in the country. Samsung and Google do not take a cut on the interchange fees for payments made on their NFC payments apps, but Apple does, and disallows other NFC payment apps on Apple devices.
This means that while the NFC payment ecosystem is likely to grow in India, companies like Samsung and Google, who are easier partners for banks, may be responsible for more transactions than Apple, which may not even release if it doesn’t get paid by banks for Apple Pay.