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You’ve probably heard enough about Apple Pay on iPhones and the Apple Watch already, but what about an equivalent for Android users? Beginning with Android M, the next version of Google’s smartphone OS, you’ll be able to swipe a credit card payment using your phone, letting you keep your plastic cards in your pocket (or even at home).
Of course, contactless payments are nothing new — retail stores and subway stations in Japan have been accepting wireless payments for more than a decade, and Google’s even dabbled with NFC payments off and on since 2011, but with Apple’s recent adoption, banks, merchants and phone manufacturers are really stepping up their NFC (near-field communication) game.
According to a Google blog post, Android Pay is coming later this year, with support from American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. You’ll be able to pay at 700,000-plus stores across the US, and potentially some around the world as well. Several plastic credit cards already support contactless payments, including the Chase Freedom card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. With both of these cards, you can simply tap the card to a reader to pay, just as you’ll eventually do with an Android smartphone.