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Google Pay launches in Germany. But will cash-loving Teutons take to it?

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Google Pay launches in Germany. But will cash-loving Teutons take to it?
A customer using Google Pay in a cafe. Photo: DPA
16:33 CEST+02:00
Google Pay made its debut in Deutschland on Tuesday, making it the 19th country in the world to introduce the mobile payment service. Some experts say though, that the technology is answering a question Germans aren't asking.

Tech giant Google is now allowing its Android smartphone users to make contactless payments in shops. In doing so, it hopes people in Germany will take to the payment method in a country where cash remains king.

Contactless payment is also known as "tap-and-go" since it refers to a method by which consumers make purchases via smartphone or (credit, debit and chip) card by tapping it near a point-of-sale terminal.

FOR MEMBERS: Google is coming to Berlin Kreuzberg and locals are far from happy. Here's why

In order to use the service though, cash registers must support the payment method by being able to sync to the store checkout using Near Field Communication (NFC); a significant number of terminals in Germany have already been converted accordingly. Google Pay can also be used for online purchases. 

The businesses where Google Pay is accepted in Germany include, among others, Media Market, Aldi Sued, and Adidas, as the Statista infographic below states.

Users will moreover have to be a customer of either Commerzbank, it’s subsidiary Comdirect, digital bank N26 or Boon. Clients of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) and UK digital bank Revolut are also in luck, as these banks are set to soon follow suit.

READ ALSO: What is the digital German bank that’s about to hit a million customers?

With its launch in the German market, Google has its sights set on overtaking its biggest competitor, Apple.

Whereas iPhone has a 23 percent share in the German smartphone market, Android’s share is 76 percent, which gives Google a huge advantage.

Apple has its own iPhone payment system which has not yet launched in Germany. Unconfirmed reports state that Apple Pay will launch in the Bundesrepublik later this year in autumn or winter.

In spite of Google Pay's official launch and Apple Pay's pending one, fintech consultant Maik Klotz told Deutsche Welle he doubts whether the majority of Germans will adopt the new technology.

Some three quarters of transactions by consumers in Deutschland are settled with banknotes and coins.

"Mobile payments solve a problem that basically doesn't exist," he said, adding that “the customer can already pay at the checkout with card or cash."

SEE ALSO: Will contactless payment ever take off in Germany?

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