Google Pay, Google’s digital wallet platform and online payment system, has launched in Switzerland.
Google Pay’s support documents reveal a rollout for customers of Cornèrcard, Bonuscard, Swiss Bankers, Revolut, and boon, Wirecard’s mobile payment solution. Only credit or debit cards are supported as payment methods.
UBS and Viseca, which are behind the Twint payment app, aren’t onboard. Credit Suisse is also reluctant, and Swisscard does not work with Google Pay either.
Google Pay joins Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Samsung Pay has been available in Switzerland for a year now while Apple Pay has been in the country since 2016.
Tech players including Apple and Samsung have faced an uphill battle in Switzerland as local banks have been recalcitrant in adopting foreign third party mobile payment services.
Last year, Switzerland’s competition watchdog WEKO began an investigation on some of the country’s biggest financial firms for a suspected boycott of mobile payment solutions including Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Local media reports suggested that the investigation was aimed at clarifying whether Swiss financial institutions, including Aduno Holding, Postfinance, Swisscard and Swiss units of Credit Suisse and UBS, had reached an agreement to boycott mobile payment solutions from international providers.
Authorities suspected that these institutions had jointly agreed not to release their credit card details for use with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay in favor of Twint, a joint venture launched in 2016 by Switzerland’s biggest banks to create a digital payment system.
In April, news broke that Credit Suisse had finally reached a payment deal with Apple and would begin supporting Apple Pay with its credit cards in the following weeks. The bank said it would also support Samsung Pay.
Meanwhile, UBS had not yet managed to reach an agreement with Apple, as of the end of March. The two had been reportedly discussing adopting Apple Pay for three years but failed to agree on terms.
Initially released in 2015 as Android Pay, Google Pay is a digital wallet that powers in-app and tap-to-pay purchases on mobile devices, enabling users to make payments with Android phones, tablets or watches.
The service allows users to use the payment cards they have on file with Google Play, and provides an API that allows merchants to add the payment system to websites, apps, Stripe, Braintree, and Google Assistant.
Google Pay uses near field communication (NFC) to transmit card information facilitating funds transfer to brick-and-mortar retailers, replacing the credit or debit card chip and PIN or magnetic stripe transaction at point-of-sale terminals.
In May 2018, the Google Pay app added support for boarding passes and event tickets.
In Switzerland, payments below 40 francs through Google Pay can be made without entering a code or activating the fingerprint. Compared to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and even Twint, Google Pay for small amounts should be significantly faster.
Google Pay also supports loyalty cards with Manor, Ikea and Migros with Cumulus mentioned as partners.
Online, Google Pay is already integrated to Digitex/Galaxus and Ricardo, as well as various international dealers.
Featured image: Google Pay, via Google.