Germany’s association of cooperative banks announced the majority of its institutions would launch smartphone wallet services in the coming days, weeks after Apple revealed it was following Google into the country’s mobile payments sector.
Members of Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken will be able to roll-out contactless payments using Mastercard or Visa digital token technology. It will be available on Android smartphones under the name VR BankingApp.
In a statement, the group said 85 per cent of its 915 member banks would be able to offer the service from 13 August. Users will be able to make contactless mobile payments at more than 500,000 point-of-sale terminals across Germany.
It added it would be the first banking group in the country to enable contactless mobile payments.
Customers of two banks, Volksbank Mittelhessen and VR Bank HessenLand, have been taking part in a pilot service since June, after an initial trial of the technology with staff members in December 2017.
Germany has traditionally proved a difficult market for payment companies with the vast majority of small transactions currently made using physical cash and major mobile wallet suppliers slow to offer payments services.
By the start of June neither Apple, Samsung or Google had launched their mobile wallets in the country despite every other major European market except Portugal having at least two of the three available.
Earlier this year, Germany-based NFC payment technology company Wirecard expanded its contactless service to include wearables as it stepped-up its play in the market.