Mobile Commerce

Google Wants To Make Payments Hands Free

Google just trumped its own soon-to-launch mobile payments app, Android Pay.

Just as quickly as Google rolled out the news about Android Pay last week (May 27), it revealed that it was also looking to launch another new app called “Hands Free” that enables consumers to make contactless payments without even needing to grab and swipe that smartphone.

“Imagine paying for things without lifting a finger. No digging around for cash, credit cards, or loose change. Just tell the cashier you’d like to pay with Google, and you’re good to go,” the project’s slogan states.

Google didn’t share much last week at its I/O developer conference about its hands-free technology, but did say that it would allow customers to make a payment by saying “I’d like to pay with Google,” to a store clerk. The verification, according to reports out of the conference, indicate the clerk’s will verify the identity of the person using an image on the register screen. It could also use geofencing and Bluetooth that pairs with a person’s smartphone to signal the person is present, one report suggested.

“When you make a purchase, your full card details will not be shared with stores. Once you complete a purchase, you’ll receive an instant notification right on your phone. We’ll also alert you to any unusual activity so you can go hands-free and be worry-free,” Google explained on its project site.

Google said it plans to roll out the tech as an experiment in the San Francisco Bay area at McDonald’s and Papa John’s. No set date has been released for the test, or plans for expansion after the initial rollout. Google also has posted information for merchants on its site about how to participate in its test of the experimental payments tech.

While Android Pay is the latest payments scheme the Internet giant is pinning its mobile payments hopes on after Google Wallet’s failure to ignite multiple times since its original launch in April 2011, this new hands-free payment option could be the wave of the mobile payments future. Android Pay, which doesn’t have a set launch day, will go head-to-head in the battle for mobile payments with Apple Pay, the forthcoming Samsung Pay, PayPal, Visa Checkout and MasterPass.Google’s mobile wallet option will allow consumers to pay via their mobile device in store using NFC technology.

And like Apple Pay, it has embraced partnerships with all four card networks – Amex, Discover, MasterCard and Visa – in an effort to make account provisioning easier.

“Mobile payments is a big priority for Google, so we’ve been working with major networks like MasterCard to help provide a seamless experience across a wide range of phones and stores. Android Pay will offer people further simplicity, security and choice when paying for things with their Android phones,” Pali Bhat, Director of Product Management at Google, said in a news release.

To check out what else is HOT in the world of payments, click here.


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