FRANKFURT AM MAIN - Germany's huge network of public sector Sparkassen savings banks will on Monday launch its own mobile payment app, taking on Google Pay in a country where cash is still king.

The service, which lets customers make contactless payments using just their smartphones, will initially be available only on Android, not iPhones, and comes a month after rival app Google Pay made its debut in Europe's top economy.

"It's going to take time to make inroads because Germans are traditionally sceptical about new methods of payment," the editor of the Mobilbranche.de industry website, Florian Treiss, told AFP. Working to the advantage of the locally- and municipally-owned Sparkassen is their large network of over 15,000 branches nationwide, serving some 50 million customers. "Sparkasse's entry into mobile payment should reach significantly more customers" than similar services offered by other providers, Treiss said.

Google Pay for its part has teamed up with several private banks in Germany whose customers can use the app for contactless payments. The largest partner is Commerzbank.

Already well-established in countries around the world, contactless payment has been slow to catch on in Germany where cash is still used in three out of four purchases, according to a 2017 study by the Bundesbank central bank.

But it's not for a lack of infrastructure, with over 800,000 terminals available in shops or supermarkets that allow customers to pay simply by placing their credit or debit cards, and now their phones, over a reader.