While credit cards are rampant in the United States, it’s not necessarily the case in other countries where cash is still king. At this year’s Google I/O developer conference, the tech giant announced it’s adding more payment methods to its Google Play store, including cash and bank transfers.
The new feature is called “pending transactions.” How it works is that users can opt to receive a transaction code, which they can then bring to a local convenience store. Once there, they can simply show it to a cashier and then pay for their purchase using cash. In the I/O presentation, Google’s Stephen Fulwider explained that in addition to cash, pending transactions will also work with bank transfers and direct debits. Google also plans to add in-app transaction capabilities but didn’t clarify as to when we might see that.
Users who successfully complete a transaction will receive their purchase and an email verifying their payment within ten minutes. Though, it is possible that transactions can take up to 48 hours. When it comes to refunds, however, cash-only users will be limited to Play Store credit.
Right now, the cash option is available in Mexico and Japan—both countries where cash is the payment method of choice. While Google added carrier billing years ago and has expanded it to over 170 carriers worldwide, it’s not a feature that’s universally accessible to every user.
Adding pending transactions is a good thing for Google. While the Play Store sees more app downloads that Apple’s App Store, it still lags when it comes to revenue. It’s also a savvy move for developers, as there’s a lot more room for growth in emerging markets—many of which are still largely cash economies. Long live cash.