Android Pay v1.19 began rolling out last night, but like many of its recent updates, there aren't any obvious new features to see after updating. However, a teardown of the app does show there are a few things in the works, or maybe even ready to launch in the near future. Supported cards will soon allow Android Pay to show full transaction history, even if the purchase was made outside of Android Pay. It will soon be possible to block sensitive data from appearing on screen, which will prevent prying eyes from stealing that information. And finally, Japanese users can look forward to support for the Nanaco payment card.
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.
Nanaco card support (Japan)
Back in December, Google announced its first official Android Pay partner in Japan would be Rakuten. This obviously wasn't going to be the only payment method to join the club, and now it looks pretty likely that the Nanaco card by Seven will become the second.
For those unfamiliar with Nanaco card, and I assume most of our readers are, it's a prepaid eMoney card accepted at various payment terminals in Japan. There are quite a few similarities between Nanaco and Rakuten Edy. In fact, they're similar enough that my original teardown revealing the Rakuten Edy partnership covers most of the salient points.
<string name="seven_company_name">Seven card service</string>
<string name="how_to_use_nanaco">How to use nanaco</string>
<string name="instore_topup_education_subtitle">Then you can use Android Pay wherever nanaco is accepted</string>
<string name="instore_topup_education_title">Your nanaco card was created.
Add money at a store.</string>
<string name="instore_topup_info_text">Add money in stores. %1$s</string>
<string name="nanaco_ap_provisions_link_label">Special Provisions for Android Pay</string>
<string name="nanaco_campaign_email_optin_label">Send me promotional emails from Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd.</string>
<string name="nanaco_deleted_message">Your nanaco account is deactivated. Please click delete button below to delete the nanaco card. If you have any question, please reach out to nanaco customer support (0570–071–555).
nanaco number: %1$s
Error code: AMBE10</string>
<string name="nanaco_information_share_disclaimer">By continuing, you agree to share this info with nanaco</string>
<string name="nanaco_sign_up_form_message">Enter your info to create a nanaco account</string>
<string name="nanaco_too_young_error">Must be at least 16 years old</string>
<string name="nanaco_tos_link_label">Terms and Conditions of nanaco mobile</string>
It's never safe to predict launch dates, but the teardown for the Rakuten Edy card was followed only a few days later by an official announcement, and the same thing could certainly happen again with Nanaco. Unlike the launch of Rakuten Edy support, there's no mention of promotional incentives for signing up.
Hiding sensitive information from view
Security has been a major factor in the evolution of our smartphones, but there are still gaps where information can leak in one way or another. One of the easiest ways for somebody to get some of your information is simply by looking at it when your phone is showing it. Google seems to be planning to remedy this with a couple of new buttons that allow users to individually hide the barcode and member ID for cards.
<string name="hide_barcode_link">Hide barcode</string>
<string name="hide_member_id_link">Hide member ID</string>
It seems odd to single out these two things and not offer it for other sensitive fields, but it's certainly possible for Google to add more in the future. There aren't any clear indicators about what will appear in place of the barcode and member ID, but I suspect they will be simple replacements, like asterisks for the member ID and a black box for the barcode.
Full transaction histories, even when Android Pay isn't used
If you've used Android Pay for a little while, there's a good chance you've noticed that it only tracks transactions made with Android Pay itself, not those made directly with the card or through non-physical means (e.g. online purchases). This isn't too surprising since Google would need access to transaction history direct from the provider of the payment card to fill in the gaps. As it turns out, that's something Google is actually going to do.
New lines of text appear in the latest update saying that some cards will be able to show full transaction history, even for those made outside of Android Pay. This is limited to just those cards that support it, and that list might be fairly short to begin with.
<string name="payment_card_setting_heading">Non-Android Pay Transactions</string>
<string name="payment_card_setting_subheading">Display transactions made outside of Android Pay.</string>
<string name="payment_card_setting_subsubheading">For cards that support this feature.</string>
Since there's no mention of entering login name and password, it seems like Google must be working out deals with providers rather than opening an account and merely scraping for the history like many financial tracking services have been known to do.
There's actually not much more to take away from the limited text that's here, so that's going to be it for this one.
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.