Google Wallet launches in South Africa as digital payments boom


The logo of Google is seen at the high profile startups and high tech leaders gathering, Viva Tech,in Paris, France May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) launched Google Wallet in South Africa on Tuesday, as the tech giant tries to gain a foothold in the country’s rapidly growing digital payments space.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital transactions and people increasingly prefer making contactless payments via their smart devices. High smartphone penetration has also helped adoption rates.

The Google Wallet app stores a consumer’s credit or debit card information and allows shoppers to pay for goods by tapping their phone against a retail store’s point of sale at the checkout counter.

From Tuesday, cardholders of FirstRand Bank (FSRJ.J), Discovery Bank, Investec (INLJ.J), Standard Bank (SBKJ.J), ABSA (ABGJ.J) and Nedbank (NEDJ.J) will be able to add their cards to Google Wallet, Google said.

They will then be able to pay with their Android phones or use OS devices where contactless payments are accepted.

Last year, rival Apple Inc (AAPL.O) launched its Apple Pay mobile payment system in South Africa.

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