BRAZIL – 2022/04/21: In this photo illustration, a woman holds a smartphone with the Google Wallet logo displayed on the screen. (Photo illustration by Rafael Enrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Rafael Enrique/Getty Images


Alphabet Inc launched Google Wallet in South Africa on Tuesday as the tech giant tries to gain a foothold in the country’s fast-growing digital payments space.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital transactions, with people increasingly preferring contactless payments through their smart devices. High smartphone penetration has also helped the rate of adoption.

The Google Wallet app stores a consumer’s credit or debit card information and allows shoppers to pay for items by touching their phone to a retail store’s point of sale at checkout.

From Tuesday, cardholders of FirstRand Bank, Discovery Bank, Investec, Standard Bank, ABSA and Nedbank will be able to add their cards to Google Wallet, Google said.

They will then be able to pay from their Android phones or use OS devices that accept contactless payments.

Rival Apple Inc launched its Apple Pay mobile payment system in South Africa last year.

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