ANZ has today launched Android Pay, the first major Australian bank to do so.
Customers can now use the mobile payments platform to make contactless in-store purchases using an ANZ Visa debit or credit card or ANZ American Express card. The bank said Mastercard cards were expected to “follow quickly”.
ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott said mobile payments were set to supersede card and cash as the preferred payment method in Australia in the near future.
"I see a future where [mobile payment methods] will displace plastic,” the CEO said during a briefing on the launch. “This is not very far away — the technology already exists today. We could get you a card and have it only sit on your phone.
“It’s a realistic aspiration that’s not very far away. We’re not talking in ten years - were talking in a much shorter period of time than that.”
ANZ has an existing mobile payments platform, ANZ Mobile Pay, which launched in February. Asked why people would use Android Pay over the bank’s own app, Elliot said: “People are complex”.
He added that some customers were more comfortable using a bank branded app while others were more passionate about their device.
“People make choices that suit them,” he said. “Our response is perhaps not to question why but just to offer them solutions.”
Google senior director product management Pali Bhat, speaking from the US, said that Australia was a particularly exciting market to be launching in due to the well-established contactless payments infrastructure.
"All the infrastructure is already there in Australia and consumer behaviour is already trained towards using contactless,” he said. “I see this as tipping point for mobile payments. The challenge we always have is the need for it to be broadly available. But looking at the key ingredients - Android Pay is available on a vast number of devices, you don't have to buy something new and with merchants it's ubiquitous.
"I could come to Australia - land, spend a week, fly back - without having done anything other than paying with Android Pay."
Australia is the third country outside of the US to get Android Pay, following launches in the UK in May and Singapore last month.
Android Pay was beaten to Australia by both Apple Pay which launched in November and Samsung Pay which arrived last month. In April, ANZ became the first Australian bank to offer its customers Apple Pay.
Bhat said he did not consider Android Pay a latecomer to the mobile payments landscape in Australia.
"We’re so early in the market right now,” he said. “To use a cricket analogy it’s the first ball of the first over of the first innings of a test match. And not one of today’s test matches, this is like one we had in the ’30s - that would run for days until one team won.”
Shayne Elliot extended the analogy, adding: "From our perspective we won the toss and we like to be first.”
A number of other banks also launched Android Pay today, including Macquarie Bank, Bank of Sydney, The Rock, QT Mutual Bank, as well as card issuer American Express. Others will be following imminently.
Elliott said the partnership with Google had been positive and he did not rule out future collaborations.
“I’m really confident that we’ll get this going then move on to next thing together," he said. "I don’t know what that is.”
ANZ poached Google’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Maile Carnegie, to lead its digital banking strategy. She starts at the bank this month.