Now that a KitKat build for the Galaxy Note 3 has leaked, people have started reporting new things that they're finding. Though most of the major features of Google's latest Android version are present, the "tap and pay" option is conspicuously absent. Further, it appears host card emulation has been disabled altogether. This is curious given the fact that Isis Mobile Wallet, which is partially backed by AT&T and nowhere to be found on the official Android 4.3 builds, is preinstalled on the leaked firmware.

Host card emulation, for the purposes of Android devices, allows almost any NFC-equipped device to be used for "tap and go" mobile payments, even if it doesn't have a secure element. The "tap and pay" system setting enables HCE and allows you to pick a default app for mobile payments. A quick check of Google Wallet verifies that it does not detect any valid mobile payment method (meaning HCE) on the Galaxy Note 3.

kitkat_gn3_1 kitkat_gn3_2
Google Wallet on KitKat for the Galaxy Note 3 (left) and the Galaxy S4 GPE (right).

It's important to note that the KitKat leak appears to be a very early build, so the "tap and pay" situation could change by the time an official OTA update happens. For now, though, those who were hoping to be able to use their Galaxy Note 3s with Google Wallet for mobile payments are still out of luck.

Shawn De Cesari
Shawn is a web developer by day and XDA's resident archivist for Nexus and Google Play Edition device OTA updates by night. When not immersing himself in code or Android, he can be found hunting down antique signs, taking road trips, listening to music, or playing video games. His daily drivers are a Nexus 6 and an iPhone 6 Plus.
  • Wazzifer

    GodDAMNIT. I had my hopes up that when it hits my T-Mobile's Note 3 I might be able to use that. Damn you to hell, Isis.

  • My name is….

    Samsung? NEVER AGAIN

    • tester56

      motorola!!! I am enjoying tap and pay on my Moto X.. every time i tap and pay people at the counter would be like WOW

      • Ryan

        Sounds like me with Whataburger. I keep going there because of the reactions I get. One time someone told me the thing doesn't work, I proved her wrong. XD

        • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

          Wow...... are you a wizzzard?

          • Ryan

            Can't tell if serious or not...

          • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell


    • DarkStarr

      Don't be an idiot. In this case it wouldn't be Samsung's fault it would be AT&T.

      • Ram Steff

        the moto x made the cut with at&t

      • My name is….

        I stand corrected.

        Of course you have to consider that i live across the Atlantic, in a country where it is considered a joke to get a carrier-locked phone.
        So i didnt realise it was an AT&T thing.

        I only wish that people where smarter than bonding themselves with 24month contracts just to save a few dollars.

        • DonSerrot

          The sad this is in many cases it actually costs MORE to do the contract route that it would be for prepayed, even with the full price of the phone up front. Get a Nexus 5 or a Moto G/X and you are pretty well golden.

        • burritoman

          If these dumb people had the service rates you do across the pond, I'm sure they wouldn't be going for a 24 mo. contract...

        • Tim242

          You don't get a plan discount for buying outright or bringing your own phone. You save about $500 by going the contract route.

          • My name is….

            1) I think its actually less.

            2) Unlocked phone ftw

            3) Prepaid plans

          • Tim242

            1. It is not less. $200 on contract, $700 off contract. There are only a few devices less than that.

            2. Unlocked phones don't work on CDMA, which 2 out of the 4 big carriers use. Even if you are on one of the GSM carriers, you still pay $700+ for an unlocked phone and your plan still costs the same, as subsidies are part of your plan price

            3. Prepaid plans are mostly OK, but you have to pay $400-$700 up front for the phone

          • My name is….

            1) You can make a 1-year contract without a phone and get a better deal for next year (or even a contract you can stop whenever you want, without commitments)

            2) You can get another not-high end phone.

            3) You are gonna pay 200$ up front anyway and 60-70-80 every month

            No, i still dont get 2 year contracts.
            I would DEFINATELY rather spend 200-300$ more up front and be free.

            You wanna tell me that someone is on the 20th month of his contract with a gnexus?

            I bet he is paying much more compared to what he would actually paid if he made a contract 10 months ago. And he has a 2 yrs old device.

          • Tim242

            1) There is no such thing as a 1 year contract in the US. There is no stopping a contract whenever you want without paying a hefty penalty.

            2) Most people only want high-end phones

            3) We pay the same every month whether we get a new phone or not.

            4) If you don't upgrade every two years, then you are paying a subsidy in the plan price plus buying a phone outright. That is double paying for a device.

          • My name is….

            They got you good, your carriers.

            I just hope AT&T dont buy Vodafone here in Europe and bring this awful practice to us too.

          • Tim242

            They definitely have us by the balls. If/when I lose my Verizon unlimited LTE plan, I will go prepaid. I think the EU said no to at&t. I hope for your sake that is the case.

          • My name is….

            I dont actually care personally, i use prepaid cards with a dual sim phone.

            So now i have offers from 2 companies, i have signal and data everywhere, and i actually pay less for more every month.
            But i pay for my own device.

            I definately prefer paying for a mid-range device every year than paying for a high end one that i will keep for 2 years.

          • gotluck

            nah.. its cheaper buying upfront. use att gohpone prepaid $60/mo unlimited talk/text w/ 2gb data I've been buying it for ~$52 on ebay.

          • Tim242

            Only crappy phones sell for less. I do not use eBay, it is full of scammers.

          • gotluck

            i did not buy the phone on ebay, im talking about the AT&T $60 gophone plan being purchased for less on ebay. unless you have a large family plan and/or large FAN discount, buying upfront + gohpone prepaid is indeed cheaper.

  • lensgrabber

    "so the "tap and pay" situation could change by the time an official OTA update happens" Come on Shawn do you really believe this? I don't. It's this crap that carriers pull on customers all the time. I'm glad to have a Moto X that supports tap to pay. Screw ISIS.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      Personally speaking, no I don't believe it. I think AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are going to force Isis down everyone's throats as much as possible. But, until an official build rolls out, it can't be taken as fact.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Until things are official, we have to allow for a chance for things to change. It would be careless otherwise.

      • Karlo

        Mybe CostumROM like OmniROM can help?

  • David Thoren

    I refuse to be FORCED to use only one specific implementation. If they want to compete, they should compete on MERIT. If they refuse to do so, I will use another solution.

    Thankfully this will not affect me directly in any rate since I have committed to no longer purchasing carrier locked devices.

    • Eric

      Unfortunately, this will affect us indirectly. Without tap and pay for everyone, people will use less Google wallet implementation and stores won't be willing to invest on it.

      • David Thoren

        Except stores don't invest in it. Google wallet uses the standard NFC payment system that is already in some locations. It's the same one Isis uses as well.

        • squiddy20

          1. It's in "some" locations. Meaning, for those locations that don't have NFC payment, they still need to make the decision to invest in it (or not).
          2. Isn't there a (possibly Google/ISIS specific) software component in the actual POP terminal that needs to be present? I may be wrong, but I have a feeling just having an NFC capable terminal isn't all that's required.

          • Ryan

            The virtual card the NFC payment uses is issued via MasterCard, that's how the payments go through with Google Wallet. I know this because I use it frequently at two locations I know that have had a NFC terminal available for years. There is no extra software or chips required for the Google Wallet app to work with NFC as its just a virtual Mastercard that is used, which then requests the transaction through whichever card you chose in the app. (someone better than me on the situation can probably do a far better explanation, but that is my understanding)

          • David Thoren

            Looks like you nailed it Ryan.

  • Open1Your1Eyes0

    I thought it was against the Android agreement to modify/disable core OS features? That's why I was really happy when I heard HCE is being built-in to the framework. This is a WTF situation right here.

    • Stacy J. Sawyer

      Soon no phone will support Qi wireless cause they support PMA like they did the 1520.

    • frhow

      Hence, why I don't buy anymore Samsung phones until they change up this closed eco system mindset that they have. They are becoming the Apple of Android!

      • epicmau5time

        It's AT&T read the article....

  • Ygor Vaz

    Samsung: "Oopz! Looks like there is another 'bug' beside the 'disable third party accessories' one. Don't worry, we'll fix this one after we finish putting crap into touchwiz. In other words: never."

  • Darrien Glasser

    Wow Samsung, 2/2 today, eh?

  • Marcellus1

    Wow! I figured HCE would end carrier shenanigans like this with mobile payments. Really, when is the FCC going to step in already and tell the carriers that enough is enough? There were so many petitions submitted and antitrust concerns raised about Verizon blocking Wallet because of the secure element issue and the FCC never lifted a finger.

  • Zak Taccardi

    Samsung is such an asshole

    • DarkStarr

      Yea it sure is Samsung when it's AT&T backing it. Not really for or against Samsung but at least direct your anger to the correct place which is as usual the carrier.

      • ItsTheDeathstar

        "which is as usual the carrer..."

        should've been

        "which is as usual AT&T." :-P

        • Jadephyre

          Come on, as if the other carriers in the US were that much better... or do I have to mention Verizon with their bloat and almost non-existant updates?

          • Tim242

            Have you been under a rock? Verizon has been getting updates first as of late.

          • Jadephyre

            Oh, as opposed to the years where they didn't!
            Sorry, a few timely updates don't fix a lifetime of shoddy or late updates.

          • Tim242

            They have to start somewhere. Some people are never satisfied.

      • Zak Taccardi

        They still allow it to happen.

  • saaaammmmmsssuunnnggg

    This is literally the only thing I was looking forward to in Kit Kat. I downloaded the ROM, was ready to proceed... This is an issue though. That along with the much smaller still green battery icon, Samsung is circumventing Google's guidelines and getting away with it.

    • epicmau5time

      And HTC? Sony? Both green? Your hatred is convenient.

    • blast0id

      are people just scared of root + custom rom? or just too lazy?

  • ScottyByrd

    So wouldn't this be illegal? Their excuse before was the secure element now what is it going to be? Or they are purposely keeping our the competition.

    • Danny Davis

      Its exactly what they are doing

  • Derail Doax

    Thinking it's getting to be about time to sell the AT&T Note 3 and pick up a Nexus 5 or Moto X.... What do you guys think?

    • Ryan

      Good question. What I can boil it down is that if you really want the Moto features of Active Display and Touch Control, I'd go Moto X or G. Otherwise, the Nexus 5 should do you good. I'm waiting a couple more weeks before I get the Moto X, tax returns and such...

      • Scott

        They have 0% financing...

        • Ryan

          One detail some people overlook about those though: "Subject to credit approval."

      • Abhilash Bingi

        Moto G doesn't have the Active Display and Touchless control. But it has the other moto stuff like the their camera app and Moto Assist.

        • Ryan

          Good point, I actually forgot the Moto G didn't have that due to the display not being AMOLED probably.

  • Danny Davis

    It pisses me off that AT&T is stifling competitors products. Its an unfair business practice and I'm starting to dislike them. Soon no phone will support Qi wireless cause they support PMA like they did the 1520.

  • Konstigt2

    I don't understand why people bother with those operator-locked phones in the US? With lame custom software, always lagging behind. Just buy them sim-free?!

    • Mike Reid

      It's partly due to the "unique" flavor of carrier capitalism in the US/North American market. Geography and legacy issues also contribute.

      #1 - Commercials have convinced people that top end phones should be no more than $200-300 (on 2 - 3 year plans of course). And few can "afford" the up front cost of $600-1000.

      #2 - There's often little or no discount on a plan to using your own non-carrier sold unlocked phone.

      #3 - In many areas only 1 or 2 of the big carriers have good coverage. Do note that North America covers a LOT of area, with a lower population density than Europe.

      #4 - Non-GSM CDMA mixed with GSM and the use of various frequency bands means that it's difficult/impossible to change carriers and use your existing phone on the new carrier.

      • My name is….

        Informative reply, thanks.

        • ProductFRED

          Also on many carrier models you can't take an OTA if you don't have a carrier SIM in there (E.g. I unlock an AT&T S4 and take it to T-Mobile, I won't get any OTAs).

  • frhow

    Welp I am happily using my tap to pay with my HTC One, f... you Samsung.

    • blast0id

      same here!

  • Motouser

    Just tried to use my moto x at 7-11 in Dallas. Used to work, but no longer does. I asked the clerk what was going on and they said 7-11 is has turned off NFC and is blocking Google wallet now. First the carriers now the merchants are blocking google. wtf

  • James Barr

    How is this even legal? FCC, do your effing job! God, our government literally does not care even one iota about the people.

    • blast0id

      I don't want the government to care, stay the HELL out of my life with your regulatory BULLLLLSHIT... all the government does is offer protection to those who pay their bribes and jump through their hoops... it does nothing for the "good of the people"... and I'm glad they don't because they'd be just as bad as that as they are everything else! #freejustine #fuckDC

  • Max

    This looks fake because the Battery Bar is not white.

  • Testraindrop


    What about Google CTS & CDD? Isn't this part of those and without fully functioning HCE Google won't approve the Software.

    Or are GApps also missing?

  • http://www.SMCpros.com/ Dan Antonson

    Until the "official" build comes out, this is all speculation. I'll get pissed when the OTA update comes and it doesn't have it.

  • Matt McNair

    For the record, HCE and Tap to Pay are working on the HTC One official AT&T 4.4.2. Hopefully this is also the case for Samsung devices from AT&T.

  • Rico

    So now it makes sense..."Once Visa and MasterCard enable HCE support, Google should be able to enable tap-to-pay for consumers who use their cards instead of resorting to inelegant workarounds." It looks like Visa and MasterCard are working on this and Google Wallet Tap-to-pay via KitKat will be enabled once it's ready. I'm guessing Wallet will receive an update when this happens? Do a search for "Visa MasterCard and HCE" to find out more. Looks like it's imminent!