Google only released its new digital wallet system for Android smartphones in the Australian market last month and the New South Wales government is already jumping on board.
This makes sense, according to Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet, because 90% of Australians have a mobile phone, and those running the Android operating system are more popular as a group than iPhones:
“Governments have traditionally been very slow on the uptake when it comes to new technology, whereas customers latch on much more quickly.
“With Service NSW we are completely changing that — becoming fast followers — so that our customer service keeps pace with the options people want.”
All Service NSW shopfronts now accept payments via Android Pay, Perrottet announced today, and they will add the option to their digital stores, website and app in coming months.
The Android Pay app asks users to enter credit card numbers from participating financial institutions and payment networks but never sends them to the merchant as it replaces them with virtual substitutes. The makers claim:
“Your actual card number isn’t shared with the merchant when you use Android Pay. Instead, a virtual account number is used so that your card details stay safe. After paying, you’ll receive transaction details to help you keep track of your spending activity. And if your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can lock your device from anywhere using https://myaccount.google.com.”
It also offers a system to manage loyalty cards, although its unlikely that Service NSW will offer a deal where every tenth parking fine is free anytime soon.
The Android Pay app is free from the Google Play online store, where it had an average rating of 3.9/5 at the time of writing from over 128,000 customer reviews. Not all Android phones can run it, however; only those with near-field communication chips. And it won’t play with geeks who have fiddled with or “rooted” their phone’s operating system either.
Renee Gamble, Country Manager, Google for Work Australia said, “Service NSW is leading the way in digital, with the introduction of Android Pay, as well as leveraging other existing innovations from Google such as using Chrome as their digital platform, to provide better digital services for customers.”
Perrottet first announced his intention for Service NSW to be a swift adopter of new payment technology in April last year, indicating in a statement that “MasterPass, VisaCheckout, Apple Pay (when available in Australia) and others” could all be expected at some point. The new whole-of-government payments platform would eventually be open to use by all NSW agencies, he said:
“Reforming the current system will considerably improve the way we do business. This will help keep costs down across all agencies and opens the door for more innovation in consolidating, standardising and digitising the multiple billing platforms that exist across government.”