google

At Google’s I/O developer conference held last week, the search giant unveiled an open platform API called Android Pay to enable its users to make payments from credit cards within the Android app, reports The Verge. Users will need Android version 4.4 (KitKat) or higher.

Card details not shared, virtual account created

For Android Pay, users will need to unlock their phone and place it on the payment terminal of the merchant to make the payment. The report adds that the user’s card number will not be shared because the app will create a virtual account number. Currently, Android Pay is available across 700,000 stores in the US and includes partners like McDonald’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, Gamestop, Bloomingdale’s and Whole Foods. Google claims that 7 out of 10 Android devices are Android Pay- ready.

Credit and debit card info with loyalty programs

Android Pay can be used for physical NFC transactions and in-app purchases. Once at the merchant’s payment counter, a user will see a payment confirmation and get transaction details on the phone after checking out with “Buy with Android Pay”. Users will also be able to gain loyalty points from some merchants through the app. It will use credit and debit card info and also be able to access loyalty programs and offers, via fingerprint authentication to approve purchases.

Third party apps like Groupon and Grubhub will also be integrated into Android Pay, through which users will be able to pay for their purchases on the former apps. Google claims that the payment system will also work across major cards like MasterCard, Visa, AmEx and Discover along with major telcos like AT&T, Verizon and T Mobile.

Google is also testing a hands free prototype feature where users would be able to go to Google’s partner stores and say “I would like to pay with Google”, without having to take their phones out of their pockets or touching their wallet or phone. It will be offered in beta at Papa John’s and McDonald’s to begin with. It is unclear whether Google will integrate hands free with the Android Pay system.

In March this year, mobile wallet system Softcard, which Google bought in February, was replaced with Google Wallet. Google made a deal with AT&T, T-Mobile US and Verizon through which the Google Wallet would be preloaded into future Android smartphones. Google Wallet will continue to allow users make purchases on the Play Store on the web and make p2p payments via Gmail.