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TCF Bank swipes in Android Pay for broad mobile payments play

TCF National Bank is enabling its debit cardholders to complete transactions with Android Pay, underscoring the need for financial institutions to cater to non-iOS customers seeking to leverage mobile payments.

The subsidiary of TCF Financial Corporation is following consumer demand by integrating the payment platform for its debit card customers, enabling them to make contactless payments with their non-Apple smartphones. Apple Pay’s growing adoption among merchants and financial institutions alike suggests that Android services are next in line, meaning that consumers can expect to see many major banks tap Android Pay’s features in the new year.

“Android Pay is one of a handful of the ‘something’ Pays that has established itself as relevant and worthy of integration,” said Jon Squire, CEO and co-founder of CardFree, San Francisco. “By embracing payment solutions that may appeal to millennials, TCF Bank is providing its customers with a potentially easier path for mobile payment adoption.

“Any technology that allows a bank to provide less friction to payments, before its competitors do, always provides an opportunity for customer acquisition.”

The importance of choice
The ubiquity of smartphones has led many financial marketers to quickly introduce a slew of payment platforms for mobile-savvy consumers looking to conduct purchases on their devices. The ability to tap a button within a mobile wallet and complete a transaction is enough to drive many impulse buys, making these types of integrations top-of-mind for banks as well as merchants.

Android Pay enables users to seamlessly purchase items within participating retail applications or in-store contactless terminals. A virtual account number is created for each customer via tokenization, ensuring that the card data is kept secure and safe.

The virtual number will then be shared with the retailer at the point of payment. TCF Bank is also protecting all transactions with its zero fraud liability service, which does not hold consumers responsible if unauthorized transactions are reported.

TCF Bank claims its customers have been clamoring for convenient and innovative ways to conduct payments that also fit in with their daily routines. Android Pay is able to offer consumers the ability to pay at any time or location, with whichever device they prefer.

It is also imperative for financial institutions to provide a choice of payment platforms for customers to leverage. Apple Pay has been adopted by many major merchants and banks, but the service caters exclusively to iOS users.

Now that Android Pay has experienced a nationwide rollout, financial marketers must incorporate it into their own offerings, so as to not discriminate against non-iOS customers.

“Roughly two-thirds of all smartphones in the U.S. are Android, so if a bank wants to provide mobile payment capabilities for all of its customers, it can’t just offer Apple Pay,” said Thad Peterson, senior analyst at Aite Group, Atlanta. “Android Pay and Apple Pay go hand in hand.”

Android users can download Android Pay from the Google Play Store. Select Android devices come with the payment service pre-installed.

Android Pay’s partnerships
Since its fall launch, Android Pay has been ramping up its partnerships with major brands, as well as banks, to keep its name in the spotlight and at the forefront of mobile users’ minds.

Coca-Cola is the premier marketer joining forces with Google’s Android Pay loyalty platform, allowing the beverage marketer to enjoy a slew of benefits including the ability to influence consumer behavior changes, gain data-heavy CRM and receive a competitive advantage over other rewards programs in the sector (see story).

However, other Android-friendly services have also been gaining steam.

Samsung Pay is rolling out a new gift card store enabling users to purchase digital cards from popular merchants within the application and furthering the solution’s goal of dethroning competition in the mobile payments space as holiday sales heat up (see story).

“[Integrating Android Pay] is also a good way to position the bank on the front end of technology, particularly for millennials,” Mr. Peterson said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York