Google Wallet launches in South Africa


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Fitbit, Samsung, and Apple have all launched a digital wallet in South Africa. Google Wallet was long overdue but, finally, its day has come. That’s right, the search giant has finally launched its service on South African shores.

Announced today, Google Wallet should work for all South African Android users. If you’ve been tempted by Chrome asking to store your card details for more convenient shopping, you’ll find that it’s already been pre-loaded into Wallet.

Loading Google Wallet

“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. At Google, we have learned that great things happen when technology works for everyone,” said Alistair Mokoena, country manager for Google South Africa.

“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.”

It’s easy enough to add a new card to Google Wallet. It needn’t be a bank card, either. Users can load loyalty cards and a variety of others to their digital repository. In the Wallet app, users just select the ‘Add a card’ option and follow the prompts. The card, once converted to a digital entity, can be used to tap and pay for items in stores, “…wherever the Google Pay or contactless symbol is visible”.

FirstRand Bank, Discovery Bank, Investec, Standard Bank, ABSA, and Nedbank cardholders in South Africa can load their cards onto Android and Wear OS devices from today. If you’re on FNB, you might be out of luck for a while. Also, keep an eye on your Fitbit Pay devices. There are signs that Google’s about to swap that functionality out on Fitbit devices for Google Wallet instead.

Correction: FNB customers can also use Google Wallet from today.

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