At Google I/O 2015, the company announced a new payment system that will integrate with users’ mobile devices. Android Pay will make it possible for you to buy goods both online and in-person simply by having your Android device nearby.
During a panel discussion, Google also let us in on a project currently in development; Hands Free Android Pay.
The Android Pay app will allow users to enter bank account and credit card information either manually or by using the camera to scan a card. Information is stored securely, requiring a password for entry. When Android M hits the market, fingerprint ID on compatible devices will also be available.
Once set-up, users will be able to use their Android device to pay for goods and services at participating retailers. All you have to do is hold your smartphone near the payment terminal to initiate the authorization process. No need to open the app.
Loyalty cards will also be supported in the Android Pay app. Users can enter their loyalty card information into the app. Then, whenever point are earned or used, the app automatically updates when you hold your device near the redemption terminal.
Google demonstrated Android Pay by showing off a new rewards program launch with Coca-Cola called MyCoke. When you purchase a soda from one of the compatible vending machines, you can use your smartphone to actually pay for the drink, plus earn points toward a free one. When you earn your free soda, you can redeem it right from a MyCoke compatible machine.
Android Pay will also be compatible with banking apps. When you log into your bank’s app, there will be a new button at the bottom of the screen. Tap “Add to Android Pay?” to automatically store the account information in the payment app (of course, you’ll have to enter your password).
Android Pay won’t only be available for in-store use. It will also work within compatible shopping apps, like Etsy, Grubhub, Expedia, Priceline, and more. When you are ready to pay for something within a compatible app, tap the “Pay with Android” button and simply swipe to pay. You can also select a different card than the default if you store multiple bank and credit cards within the Android Pay app.
I know what you are thinking. What happened to Google Wallet? I thought the same thing. Luckily, Google addressed that in the panel. Once Android Pay hits the market, Google Wallet will be updated to work exclusively as a peer-to-peer payment app for sending and receiving money in a personal capacity. All other features will move over to Android Pay.
Of course, Google wanted to make sure we knew that there is more in store for our future. The future is Hands Free.
According to Google, Hands Free will mean users can walk into a compatible retail store, grab their goods, and simply say, “I’d like to pay with Android.” This is still in concept mode, but the idea is that a computer at the register will be able to identify a customer nearby and access the payment information. I assume it would use some sort of beacon technology that would cover more ground than NFC. I don’t know how Google plans to deal with security in Hands Free purchasing. If you don’t have to take your device out to pay for something, how do you authorize a payment? I can’t visualize how authorization would be hands-free. My imagination isn’t that good.
Android Pay will be available with the release of Android M in the third quarter of 2015. Hands Free is expected to launch as a pilot project with select merchants in San Francisco later this year. .