Google debuted its mobile payment service in Japan through a partnership with local e-commerce giant Rakuten, but no banks or credit card firms are part of its initial rollout.
Android Pay users can make contactless payments at over 470,000 locations which accept the Rakuten Edy prepaid card. These include Bic Camera, Family Mart, Lawson, McDonald’s and Yodobashi Camera.
To access Android Pay, users download the app in the Google Play store onto an eligible Android smartphone. They then set up a virtual Edy card directly in the app or, if they already have a mobile Rakuten Edy card, they can also enable it in Android Pay.
Users can add money to their Edy card via credit card or at any local store that supports Rakuten Edy top up.
In addition, Google said it is working with Felica Networks to support other e-money providers in 2017. Felica Networks is owned jointly by Sony, NTT Docomo and East Japan Railway.
However, Android Pay’s initial presence in Japan does not include banks or credit cards, although Google said it is working with The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Visa and Mastercard “in many new ways”, including using Android Pay for checkout within apps.
A report this summer said Google’s was to add debit and credit cards issued by Mitsubishi UFJ during the autumn.
Generally speaking, Google is stepping up rollout of Android Pay in a bid to make up lost ground to Apple and Samsung. Japan is its fifth launch in eight weeks, following Ireland, Hong Kong, Poland and New Zealand dating back to mid-October.