Android Pay is finally here and it's pretty much everything we expected it to be. While there are plenty of questions about where we can use it, which credit cards can be set up, and why it's so aggressive with brightness even when barcodes aren't on screen, the actual act of spending money is about as straight-forward as it could be. As it turns out, there's one feature Google hasn't really discussed yet, but it could become the best thing about using a phone to buy things. Android Pay can automatically redeem special offers, submit account details for loyalty programs, and make a payment in just one tap to a payment terminal.
Because there's been such tremendous confusion about what cards Android Pay does and does not support, we decided to reach out to Google for some clarification. Basically, we were wondering if cards you have in Google Wallet with tap-and-pay that are not supported in Android Pay will still work once Android Pay arrives. The answer is: yes. But, there are caveats. Let's break this down as a Q&A.
If I have cards in my Google Wallet that aren't on the supported card list for Android Pay, can I keep using tap-and-pay for those cards on Android Pay? Yes.
To do this, you will need to open Android Pay and add these cards, then accept the Bancorp virtual card agreement.
We know that Android Pay is going to drop any day now, and that means Google Wallet is changing too. The Wallet app will no longer be used for paying in stores, but it will be used to send money. The new Wallet app is now live in the Play Store as a different listing than the existing Wallet app.
Have you opened Google Wallet lately? Yeah, neither have I. But those users who have are seeing a not-so-subtle hint from Google that the service's successor, Android Pay, is almost here. Open the latest version of Wallet and you'll see a banner for Android Pay, which appears to be a server-side push (since there's no corresponding update to the APK). The link goes to a web-based FAQ about Android Pay, mostly outlining the transition from Wallet.
Android Pay has been a hot topic in the last weeks after a series of memos and promotional materials turned up with the supposed August 26th launch date. As it turns out, Google hadn't yet distributed the necessary software to enable Android Pay for use on phones. That changes with version 8.1 of the Play services apk, which began rolling out Friday afternoon. A look around inside of the app also suggests there has been a bit more progress on the long-anticipated Kid Accounts. As of this release, there is also an important change to the convention Google uses for identifying Play services apk variants for different devices.
Android Pay was announced at Google I/O around 3 months ago, and Google has since said we can expect the platform to launch here in the US sometime "later this year." It appears "later" could now be "like, next week," if this notice to employees at a McDonald's location is to be believed.
The August 21st launch for Samsung Pay is wrong, but it's the launch date for the devices (Note and S6 Edge+) - which seems like an honest mistake.
The idea of paying using your phone may be exciting, but that's all it will ever be until more stores start playing along. Today Rite Aid announced that you will soon be able to add its nearly 4600 stores to the list. Starting August 15th, it will accept Google Wallet NFC payments in stores. It will also take tap and pay credit cards.
That's right, it'll be like you're shopping at Walgreens. Remember when Android users got to first play around with mobile payments in 2011?
Gone to wallet.google.com recently? Notice anything... missing? Like most mentions of "Wallet"? If so, you're not the only one! In fact, if you go to payments.google.com, the same page launches. And if you go to your settings on that page, there is a hilariously confusing mix of references to both Google Wallet and Google Payments. For example: there's a toggle box for accepting Google Wallet to receive commercial transactions.