Google have announce Android Pay, billed as the simple and secure way to pay with your Android phone… but only if you happen to live in the US and visit one of the 700,000 store locations which accept it at launch.
Android Pay is a contactless payment system which will use NFC enabled mobile phones to make payment after after you credit card to the new service. All you’ll need to do will be to unlock your smartphone and hold it near to the NFC enabled card terminal in participating retailers.
As with Apple Pay your credit card details will be held securely and not actually passed to the retailers terminal equipment. Native fingerprint authentication will also be built in to Android Pay for smartphones which have a reader built in.
We’re not quite sure yet how this affects Google Wallet as you’ll also be able to use Android Pay for in-app purchases. The chances are that when Android Pay is launched, the first time you’ll use it you’ll be migrated from Google Wallet.
Android Pay only works when you have Internet Access
One major downside is that Android Pay (unlike Apple Pay) will only work when you have an Internet Connection. That’s a major downfall as we all know that whilst in cities and major towns there’s normally a good Internet connection, that’s not so true in rural areas. Even in cities I’ve often wandered to the back of a store to find the 4G connection I enjoyed in the street suddenly disappears and I’m left with no Internet. WiFi might be a solution, but that’ll really require retailers to supply truly open WiFi without the need for passwords login or registration.
Android Pay loyalty programs and discount offers
The upside of Android Pay is that it’ll support loyalty cards and special offers automatically added at checkout. With Android Pay the retailer’s contactless terminal not only receives your payment info, but also your loyalty programs and offers.
How quickly retailers will adopt Android Pay and what consumer take up will be remains to be seen. What we can say with some certainty is that Apple Pay and solutions such as PayPal Here have some stiff competition coming, albeit only in the States to start with but we expect it to be rolled out internationally at some point in the near future.