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Google Wallet Launches in South Africa: How It Works

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
Journalist. Reach me at

Google has today launched its flagship payments system Google Wallet in South Africa.

South Africans who use Google Wallet will now be able to save and access payment cards, loyalty cards and boarding passes through the system, with support for additional items being added over time.

“Access to technology is vital for economic prosperity as millions of people use their mobile devices daily to tap and pay at stores, pay for public transportation and to utilise a variety of passes,” says Google SA Country Director, Alistair Mokoena.

“By including everyone – a dynamic ecosystem of manufacturers, developers and users – we want to make digital wallets accessible to everyone through fast, secure access to their everyday essentials.”

How to Use Google Wallet

Making use of Google Wallet is simple, the company says. Those who already have a credit or debit card saved to their Google account will have it automatically appear in Google Wallet.

All they need to do is set it up for contactless payments by following the steps on the screen.

If users don’t have a card saved and would like to add a new card to Wallet, they can select the “Add a card” prompt in the carousel at the top of the wallet app page and they will be prompted to review and accept the Issuer terms and conditions before use.

Once they have accepted and verified their card information, their cards will be tokenised and ready for use in Google Wallet. They will then be able to use them to tap and pay in stores and pay online wherever the Google Pay or contactless symbol is visible.

Adding digital items to Google Wallet (like boarding passes) is equally simple and can often be done with a few clicks.

For example, after completing the purchase of a flight on an airline website, users will see a button labelled “Add to Google Wallet” that will create the digital version of that item in their Wallet.

“Most importantly, security and privacy are built into every part of Google Wallet, making payments safer and allowing people to transact seamlessly and with confidence throughout the day. This will allow users to make transactions using a virtual card number (a token),” continues Mokoena.

“We are very excited about the launch of Google Wallet in South Africa. We hope that people not only enjoy how easy it is to use but also how secure it is for them to transact their business confidently,” concludes Mokoena.

Supported Banks

From today, cardholders of FirstRand Bank, Discovery Bank, Investec, Standard Bank, ABSA and Nedbank will be able to add their cards to Google Wallet and pay with their Android phones or Wear OS devices where contactless payments are accepted (in-store, in apps or on the web).

Edited by Luis Monzon
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