Google is expanding its Android Pay platform to the Internet through the Google Chrome browser, allowing consumers to use the mobile payments system at online stores.
Google also said that Android Pay will be the first mobile wallet to tie into Uber’s Payment Rewards program, which will provide discounts to ride-sharers when they complete transactions using Android Pay. Uber is promoting the new tie-in by offering 50% off 10 rides when passengers pay with Android Pay.
In addition, Chase announced that Chase Visa account holders in the U.S. can now can use their cards through Android Pay.
The expansion into online payments is an anticipated — and probably necessary — move by Google, coming a few months after rival Apple expanded its Apple Pay mobile wallet onto retail shopping web sites via Apple iOS devices and its own Safari browser. It's also necessary considering that Apple Pay earlier this year appeared to be winning the race for regular usage among mobile users.
Yet it's still early in the evolution of the mobile payments market, and Apple Pay hasn't thoroughly dominated the way some observers thought it would. Putting Android Pay into play for a wider range of online shopping activities should give the platform a boost in a crowded market.
The affiliations with Chase and Uber should do the same. Gaining the support of card networks is the name of the game in the mobile wallet sector: Enabling Chase Visa credit and debit cardholders to use Android Pay in-store, in-app and online should broaden usage of the platform and increase frequency of usage among Chase Visa loyalists. Still, worth noting is that Chase has been lined up behind Apple Pay from the beginning.
The Uber tie-in is not surprising, given that Uber riders already could use Android Pay to pay for rides, but the tie-in to Uber's loyalty program and the promotional discounts allow Android Pay to climb aboard the soaring rocket that is Uber by being the first mobile payments platform to achieve deeper integration with the ride-sharing service. It's hard to believe other mobile payments platforms haven't done the same, and it's a coup that should give Android Pay some extra mileage in a market that is still evolving.