WASHINGTON (AFP) - Google's Android Pay rolled out Thursday to US customers, becoming the latest system to allow consumers to tap their phones to pay for purchases at retailers.
The tap-to-pay system was announced earlier this year as part of an effort to ramp up the Android challenge to Apple, which has a similar system for iPhones.
Product manager Pali Bhat said in a blog post that one million locations across the United States would be accepting the wireless payment system for Android-powered handsets.
"Android Pay also stores your gift cards, loyalty cards and special offers right on your phone," Bhat said.
"We'll be rolling out gradually over the next few days, and this is just the beginning. We will continue to add even more features, banks and store locations in the coming months, making it even easier to pay with your Android phone."
Similar to the Apple Pay system unveiled last year, Android Pay will allow consumers to store their credit card information on their handsets along with loyalty cards and other data.
For extra security, Android Pay will generate a one-time "token" or virtual account number so the actual credit card data is not revealed in a transaction.
Google said in February it was teaming up with the mobile phone payment firm Softcard to ramp up its efforts in the emerging sector. This will allow Google Wallet to become a pre-installed "tap to pay" app on Android smartphones.