Android Pay available in New Zealand today - for BNZ customers

NZ's the sixth country to receive Android Pay, which first launched in the US last year.

NZ's the sixth country to receive Android Pay, which first launched in the US last year.

Google's Android Pay service launches in New Zealand on Thursday - but only for BNZ customers.

The smartphone-based payment service works similarly to Apple Pay, which has been available for ANZ customers since October.

It immediately allows BNZ customers to pay for goods anywhere that contactless payments are accepted, tapping their phones instead of their debit cards.

In early 2017 customers will also be able to pay for online purchases without reaching for their wallet.

READ MORE: Apple Pay arrives in New Zealand

Any BNZ customer with a modern Android phone (4.4 and up) should be able to download the Android Pay app and load their Flexi Debit Visa from Thursday morning.

Customers can then swipe their phone over any contactless terminal instead of their cards. To approve the payment, they will need to unlock their phone, but not open the app itself.

"There's no new pin or password. You simply wave your phone over the terminal," said Pali Bhat, Google's Global Head of Payments Products.

Android Pay first launched in the US last year. New Zealand is the sixth country to receive the service.

New Zealanders were already much faster adopters of contactless payments than those in the US, Bhat said. This meant that mobile payment services could flourish fast.

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"There is no real set up for merchants. You are able to use Android Pay wherever you can use a contactless card," he said. 

David Bullock, director of products and technology at BNZ, said half of Kiwis were Android users, meaning the system would have immediate reach.

"New Zealanders have a long standing affinity with electronic payments, as shown most recently by the swift uptake in contactless payments," Bullock said in a release.

BNZ said credit cards would be added to the system in 2017.

Much like with card-based Visa payWave, any purchase above $80 would require a pin.

While Android Pay was at this point limited to BNZ debit card customers, Bhat said Google were open to working with other partners - including public transport systems and other payment processors as well as banks.

"We truly build an open platform that lets us work with everyone in the ecosystem - regardless of whether they are a bank or a payment processor."

A BNZ spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the bank was in active talks with Apple to bring its payment service to BNZ customers. She said Google and BNZ had been in talks since March.

A Visa New Zealand spokeswoman said 16 million transactions were made with payWave in October 2016.

ANZ and ASB have implemented a payment platform that works on Android phones - but not Google-supported Android Pay.

 - Stuff

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