Google long ago teased Hands Free, a way to make mobile payments without even having to reach for your phone. Now it's launching a pilot program in the southern San Francisco Bay Area.
Hands Free uses Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi, and location services to communicate with cash registers inside participating stores. Right now those partners are McDonald's, Papa John's, and some local restaurants.
Samsung continues to push its Pay platform on every front, and according to the latest press release, it's working. The company claims that "about five million users" have used Samsung Pay to spend more than half a billion dollars. That's probably thanks to Samsung's unique system that doesn't require retailers to buy new payment processing hardware. A wide array of compatible banks, credit unions, and credit card companies probably doesn't hurt. Today Samsung announced that Wells Fargo, one of the largest American banks, is joining the program.
For mobile payments to really take off, the functionality needs to be available to far more than merely the latest devices. For this reason, the SD Association, a non-profit that sets memory card standards, is pushing a means to use microSD cards to make otherwise incompatible devices compatible.
The SD association calls this technology smartSD. The technology apparently enables a secure element for Host Card Emulation, a necessary step for creating digital copies of payment cards the way we've seen in Google Wallet and Android Pay. SmartSD uses a device's native NFC, removing the need to embed such technology into the card directly.
Google has been running some Android Pay promos lately, a stark contrast to the Google Wallet days when Google pretended mobile payments didn't exist. Last month there was the Best Buy gift card deal, and now you can get some freebies simply by using your phone to pay 10 times between now and the end of February. There are some caveats, of course.
Samsung Pay and mobile payment services of its ilk are only as good as the credit and debit cards they support. If you can't insert your bank or credit union into the app, you're still left swiping every time you get ready to spend money. Today Samsung has announced eight additional partners.
JPMorgan Chase announced a really cool idea today. Rather than use cash, check, or physical credit card, why not use a single service to substitute for all those methods from a mobile device? Knowing that consumers clearly want this and have never heard of anything like it, the banking giant announced Chase Pay, which will indeed be a mobile payments service that ties into Chase bank and credit card accounts. All kidding aside, this looks like a real dud.
Beside the fact that it looks at first blush like an imitation of the similar Android, Apple, and Samsung Pays, you will only be able to use your Chase accounts, should you be one of the 50% of American households that has one.
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.
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?
While we've been following this rumor for months now, Google made Android Pay official during today's keynote. We first heard the name back in February, and knew something was coming ever since they acquired the intellectual property of mobile payment competitor Isis, an agreement that would also make Wallet a pre-installed app on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon phones. Though it was announced as part of Android M, it will work on KitKat and newer versions.
Functions new to Android Pay include the ability to tap to pay within apps. For apps that use the Pay API, you will only have to click "Buy with Android Pay" and leave the arduous typing of numbers and addresses to the automated system.