There are a lot of factors playing into the success and failure of mobile payment systems. Perhaps the most challenging issue for Android Pay to overcome isn't the slow adoption of compatible payment terminals or the general lack of awareness about contactless payments, it's the confusion people experience once they decide to try it. While many users are nervous simply because they don't know what to expect, some others are confronted with an even bigger challenge: they have no idea where the NFC antenna is on their phone. The Android Pay app has been progressively adding more informative screens to help with educating users about tap-and-go payments, and now evidence from a teardown suggests Google will soon teach users what part of the phone to actually tap with.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.
Using NFC 101
If you're reading this site, there's an above-average chance you already know where the NFC antenna is on your phone, even if you've never actually used it. The average consumer, on the other hand, probably doesn't realize they have to aim a roughly 1"x2" rectangle at a terminal to make a payment. This problem is especially serious for Samsung phones where the NFC antenna often overlaps the battery, which is usually situated to the bottom-left side of the phone, far away from the top where most users expect it to be.
New strings in the Android Pay app show that it will soon educate users about the location of the transmitter in their phones so they won't have to go hunting on their own. The guide will be accessible through a command titled "How to pay" in the overflow menu.
Instructions are specific to each model of phone. There are only eighteen names currently listed, including all of the Nexus phones going back to the Nexus 5, many of Samsung's flagships as far back as the Galaxy S5 and some of its popular budget-conscious alternatives, the LG G4, and the Motorola Droid Turbo 2. More models will obviously join the list in time. However, it looks like only the model names are present for now. Instructions for each model aren't yet available.
<string name="nfc_antenna_location_text">The NFC chip on your %1$s is located %2$s. Hold this part of your phone to the terminal when paying.</string>
<string name="nfc_antenna_location_title">How to pay in stores</string>
<string name="menu_item_nfc_antenna">How to pay</string>
<string name="nfc_antenna_location_dismiss">Got it</string>
<string name="model_lg_g4">LG G4</string>
<string name="model_motorola_droid_turbo_2">Droid Turbo 2</string>
<string name="model_nexus_5">Nexus 5</string>
<string name="model_nexus_5_x">Nexus 5X</string>
<string name="model_nexus_6">Nexus 6</string>
<string name="model_nexus_6_p">Nexus 6P</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_a8">Galaxy A8</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_a9">Galaxy A9</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_a9_pro">Galaxy A9 Pro</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_j5">Galaxy J5</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_note_4">Galaxy Note4</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_note_5">Galaxy Note5</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_s5">Galaxy S5</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_s6">Galaxy S6</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_s6_edge">Galaxy S6 edge</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_s6_edge_plus">Galaxy S6 edge+</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_s7">Galaxy S7</string>
<string name="model_samsung_galaxy_s7_edge">Galaxy S7 edge</string>
The layout for this screen doesn't currently include a place for an image or drawings, but it goes without saying that some kind of visual guide would be invaluable to users.
This might seem like a trivial feature to many of us, but it's an important step toward making contactless payments less intimidating for customers – or more accurately, saving them from the embarrassment of holding up a line while awkwardly waving the wrong part of their phone over a payment terminal.
I'm not going to take a guess at what this one will be, but the strings are interesting enough that they're worth calling out. A new command will seemingly be added that allows for adding a "void card" to Android Pay. The term is unclear, but both strings include the letters "se" in the name, which strongly suggests this is related to the Secure Element technology that was once a requirement for contactless payments back when the app was still called Google Wallet (before the rebrand to Android Pay and a new Google Wallet app). Back in KitKat, a non-hardware solution called Host Card Emulation (HCE) took its place.
<string name="action_add_se_payment_card">Add a void card</string>
<string name="add_se_card_placeholder_card">+ Add a void card</string>
So, what is this for? It could very possibly be a tool for developers and testers, which means we may never know. Outside of that, there aren't a lot of obvious reasons to use the secure element given the existence of HCE, but it could still serve some practical purpose. One string clearly refers to this as a "placeholder" card, which certainly reinforces the likelihood that this is still just for testing. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see a return to using the secure element.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.