Word had it that Google was readying a clone of Apple Pay — right down to the name! — and as it turned out at Google I/O yesterday, the word was right. Google is indeed releasing its own Android-based payments system that supersedes Google Wallet and goes toe-to-toe with Apple Pay.
The two systems are remarkably alike, but even if the ways they diverge are subtle, those subtleties add up to a lot. Here are three of the most important differences and what they’ll mean to the average phone-wielder.
1. Android Pay works for KitKat users and higher, but Apple Pay works only in iOS 8 on just a few devices
What’ll it take to run Android Pay on your phone? Three things: the Android Pay app, support for NFC, and a version of Android that’s at least KitKat (4.4) or higher. The APIs needed for Android Pay were introduced as of Android 4.4, so anyone running a slightly older phone — such as the Samsung Galaxy Note II, stuck at 4.3 — is out of luck.