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Slovakia becomes first to use Google Pay

The service is currently available for the clients of four banks, but others may join soon.

Illustrative stock photo(Source: Courtesy of Slovak Telekom)

Google is launching its new application, Google Pay, in Slovakia, making it the first country ever to introduce the revamped service. Previously, it was known as Android Pay.

A simple and safe payment method by mobile phones at stores, Google Pay is available as of February 28 to clients of Slovenská Sporiteľňa, mBank, Poštová Banka and J&T Banka. Soon, clients of 365.bank will also join, the SITA newswire reported.

How to use the service?

Google Pay is accepted at more than 43,000 stores in Slovakia, said Rasťo Kulich, country manager of Google Slovensko.

The service is available at any place where people can use contactless payments. The Google Pay icon must be visible for it to work.

To use the service, people need to download the Google Pay app and add their credit or debit cards. When paying at the shops, all they need to do is place the mobile phone near the payment terminal. To increase the security, it is necessary to unlock the phone if the payment exceeds €20, SITA reported.

Apart from Slovakia, the service is available in 17 other countries, SITA wrote.

Banks find potential in the service

“Payment by a mobile phone, which most of us have at hand nearly all the time, will speed up and simplify current card payments,” said Andrej Zaťko, CEO of Poštová Banka, as quoted by SITA. “We hope that in the current age of mobile technologies the clients will quickly learn to like this service.”

Read also:Foreigners, do you want to open a bank account?

mBank believes that in a few years, mobile phones will replace the use of internet banking.

“Google Pay is another step towards the future where people will always carry their bank with them in their phones,” said Robert Chrištof, head of mBank in Slovakia, as quoted by SITA.

More than 80 percent of Slovaks who own smartphones use the operational system Android, said Zdeněk Románek, member of the board of directors at Slovenská Sporiteľňa, who is responsible for retail banking.

“This is the reason why I believe the new Google Pay service really has potential to reach the masses,” Románek said, as quoted by SITA.

Other banks interested too

Other big banks in Slovakia are also considering introducing the service. VÚB bank, for example, plans to launch it in September 2018, said its spokesperson Alena Walterová.

ČSOB is currently focusing on the possibilities to extend payment methods by using Near Field Communication (NFC) payments, while UniCredit Bank considers using both Android Pay and Google Pay platforms. Both are ready to inform their clients about the changes, SITA reported.

On the other hand, Tatra Banka launched mobile payments via its MobilePay app more than a year ago and does not plan to join the project for now.

“Our MobilePay app offers clients the same possibility of contactless payments by using smartphones as Google Pay,” said its spokesperson Zuzana Žiaranová, as quoted by SITA.

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