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ME Bank enables Google Pay as shoppers turn away from cash amid COVID-19

ME Bank enables Google Pay as shoppers turn away from cash amid COVID-19

ME Bank has switched on Google Pay for its customers who have an Android smartphone or wearable.

The bank’s customers are now able to link their ME debit and credit cards to Google Pay, with access available from today. The digital payment method can be used in-store, online and through apps, both in Australia and for overseas online shopping

It comes nearly two months after ME introduced Apple Pay access for its customers. 

  • What is Google Pay? Google Pay is a payment and digital wallet app powered by Google for Android smartphone and wearable users. If supported, Android users can make digital payments in-store and online using Google Pay. When your debit or credit card is connected to your device, you can tap your device near a contactless terminal to make payments.

ME group executive of customer banking Craig Ralston said the bank’s customers are increasingly seeking a digital alternative to cash and cards.

“Our customers are using cashless and contactless and digital payments more, so it makes sense for ME to increase the number of ways our customers can pay digitally with the addition of Google Pay,” he said.

Shoppers turn to contactless payment methods during COVID-19 

Mr Ralston added that the spread of the coronavirus has spurred Australians’ preference for cashless payment options.

“COVID-19 is accelerating the trend away from cash towards cards and digital payments. ME customers using an Android device will now be able to use Google Pay to pay for things without touching PIN pads or handling cash,” he said.

The number of cash withdrawals at ATMs have fallen by 14 per cent in the four months of the pandemic to June 2020, the latest Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) data showed. The lowest number of ATM cash withdrawals recorded by the central bank was in April 2020.

But the transition away from cash isn’t a new trend, as ATM withdrawals have plummeted by 32 per cent in the 12 months to June 2020.

According to ME, cash withdrawals at ATMs by the bank’s customers have almost halved since the onset of the coronavirus. The number of ATM withdrawals in the past six months tumbled by 45 per cent from the previous six-month period, ME payment data showed.

ME customers also withdrew 31 per cent less cash in terms of value in the same period.

How to use Google Pay

To use Google Pay, your smartphone or device must be running Android Lollipop 5.0 or higher. Make sure:

  • Your bank provides access to Google Pay, and
  • Your credit or debit card supports Google Pay. While many banks have Google Pay enabled, not every card or account type has Google Pay support. 

Then download the app from the Google Play store and key in your credit or debit card details.

If you usually earn points or rewards from spending with your bank’s debit or credit card, you may still be able to collect these when paying with Google Pay. Check with your bank for details.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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