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Transact Debuts Google Pay Mobile Credentials for Android Users

By Henry Kronk
January 10, 2020

Transact announced on January 7 that it will be offering its campus Mobile Credential for Google Pay to be used with Android devices. The company first debuted mobile credential integrations with Apple Pay and Apple mobile devices in October of 2018. Since, the service has been made available to over 100,000 college students around the U.S.

We’ve listed colleges participating in the initial Google Pay Mobile Credential rollout below.

The technology works as follows: using the Apple Pay, and now Google Pay apps on mobile phones and smartwatches, students can simply swipe their devices close to a near field communication (NFC) reader. This reader can then securely access students’ library, gym, and cafeteria accounts and provide entrance to dorms and other campus facilities.

Transact Mobile Credentials Brings Google Pay and Android Users Online

With the Google Pay integration, Transact’s Mobile Credentials will now, in theory, be available to most students. But according to Transact VP of Marketing Development and Strategy Jeff Staples, this moment was roughly a decade in the making.

“Transact began seeding our reader devices with NFC capability in 2010, and from then on, all Transact reader devices shipped to our clients featured that capability,” Staples said. “By the time we announced Transact Mobile Credential for iOS and WatchOS in 2018, our clients had in turn been seeding their infrastructure with NFC capability for nearly a decade.”

So while the service is theoretically available for students across the board, deployment of Transact depends also on a university’s NFC reader capabilities.

According to Statista, roughly 51.8% of Americans use Android devices, while 47.4% use iPhones. But among young people, iPhone use is much higher. A 2019 Piper Jaffray survey of 8,000 American teens recorded iPhone ownership at 83%. This marks the highest the group has recorded in the teen demographic.

Staples says Transact’s client base also follows this trend, and that’s why the company debuted Apple Pay integrations first.

“The average iOS utilization rate among our Mobile Credential clients is approximately 65-70%, but we have some clients with more than 85% usage of iOS devices,” Staples said.

“We then satisfied the needs of the largest device user population on campus first with iPhone and Apple Watch support, and now are thrilled to bring our latest Android Mobile Credential in partnership with Google Pay,” Staples continued. “While this user population on campus may be smaller, they tend to be very passionate and invested users, and our clients are excited to offer a consistent user experience and capability across both Android and iOS user populations.

“Our clients agreed with the strategic direction, made their infrastructure investments over the years, and were prepared to deliver this ground-breaking capability when we launched Mobile Credential for iOS and WatchOS in 2018.”

Mobile Payment Behavior Among American College Students

American college students also use mobile payments at higher rates than the general public. According to a Sallie Mae/Ipsos survey, 86% of college students use mobile payments at least sometimes. Meanwhile, Pew found that 56% of American adults made a mobile payment in the last year.

But the Sallie Mae/Ipsos poll found that PayPal and Venmo were far more popular than others. (62% and 37% of respondents used these, respectively.)

Apple Pay had a penetration of 22% in comparison, and Google Pay was lower still at 18%.

Still, Staples says it’s not necessarily a question of either or.

“While P2P options like PayPal and Venmo have an undeniable appeal to the student demographic, they simply are geared toward a different user experience,” he said. “eCommerce (PayPal) and P2P transfers (PayPal and Venmo) are great options for their specific use cases, but the Transact Mobile Credential addresses a multitude of transaction types, with very high security and transaction times measured in milliseconds.  Students expect speed and simplicity for every campus transaction type, including paying for lunch with their meal plan, making copies, doing their laundry, accessing their dorm room, going to the gym, and going to the big game.”

Fifteen colleges will join the initial Google Pay mobile credential rollout. These are: Arkansas State University, Chowan University, College of Coastal Georgia, Duke University, Georgetown University, Hamilton College, Johns Hopkins University, Marshall University, Mercer University, Roanoke College, St. Edward’s University, South Dakota State University, Temple University, The University of Alabama, and University of New Brunswick.

Featured Image: YakobchukOlena, iStock.

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