Android Pay is a mobile payments platform developed by Google to facilitate in-app, online and tap-to-pay purchases using a mobile device. Devices such as smartphones, tablets or watches can all be used as long as they have Android 4.4 KitKat (or newer) with near field communication (NFC) capabilities. Sounds very technical right? No need to worry. Most new devices will work but you can also perform a quick NFC support test.
In a store you can use your compatible smartphone with a simple tap at any contactless payment terminal and the payment will be processed without the need to get out your wallet.
Android Pay stores and manages digital versions of all your cards, from loyalty cards to credit cards. Each account can be combined so that when you make a purchase in a certain retailer, all the reward points and offers will be applied automatically.
Visa and Mastercard are among the growing list of banks and cards supported by Android Pay and this will greatly increase with the expansion into more countries.
Setup Android Pay
While Android Pay comes preloaded on several devices you can also easily download it from the Google Play Store. If you happen to have a card in your Google account you can easily register it with Android Pay or add a card from a participating bank.
To do this you can open the app and take a picture of a debit or credit card to add to the digital wallet. This can also be done for loyalty cards such as Ikea by scanning the barcode with the phone’s camera or manually entering this information.
Pay in a store
Once setup you can simply take your android device, unlock it and tap at the checkout payment terminal. A successful payment will produce an Android Pay chime while the total amount paid will be clearly depicted on the screen. One thing to note is that you’re not required to open the app when making payments.
Android Pay will also notify you with a store loyalty card barcode using location awareness.
With the underlying technology so similar, Android Pay will work anywhere contactless cards are accepted. That includes locations such as the local supermarket and coffee shop where the Android Pay or generic NFC logo is visible.
Pay in an app
In-app purchases is another feature of Android Pay.
Supported apps will display an Android Pay button at the time of purchase, eliminating the need to pull out your credit or debit card from your wallet. Popular apps such as Airbnb, Groupon and Ticketmaster have added this option to their payment process while others will eventually include Android Pay as it grows in popularity using their available API.
Pay on a website
Android pay can also be used when shopping online using Google’s browser (Chrome), and if the retailer in question is supporting this payment system. With this option you’ll be able to check out quickly and securely, taking advantage of its encrypted payment information.
This technology will also likely become a standard across other web browsers, with the recent submission of their PaymentRequest API to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This is Google’s aim to standardise Android pay as a mobile web payment option.
Android Pay vs the competition
In many respects, Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are similar. The goal is the same for each; to enable virtually any consumer to use their services.
Each service relies on a security process called tokenization, to eliminate sensitive data transfers.
Looking at the market support and feature set, each platform has something on offer. Apple Pay relies on a large and loyal consumer base. Samsung uses MST while Android Pay will be available on more devices than Samsung Pay and Apple Pay combined.
Although these services have similar features including loyalty card support choosing Android Pay from the competition will be based on the support it offers your bank as some users will move to the likes of Apple Pay while others will be more than happy to wait.
Android Pay first and foremost helps consumers minimise clutter by allowing them to ditch cash, credit cards, loyalty cards including paper receipts at certain merchants. For frequent travelers, business consumers, commuters, this convenience is highly appealing.
Android Pay can even help you keep better track of your spending and organise budgets eliminating the known difficulty around tracking cash transactions.
Mobile payment services like this also have more robust security than traditional credit cards. This is achieved by generating temporary “tokens” to complete transactions; these tokens never reveal your credit card number and do not contain sensitive information that a retailer can store safeguarding you against any potential security breach.
Even if your phone is lost or stolen Android Pay is PIN-protected. Penetrating the various security levels and making unauthorised purchases would be near impossible.
Using Android Pay, a retailer could reduce costs by saving money on paper-based transactions. This could also promote better organisation for the business as less paper would be used reducing their carbon footprint along the way.
This mobile payments platform can also help businesses get paid for goods or services quicker because of increased processing times over payment methods such as cheques.
Android Pay can help in the development of rewards programs to increase customer loyalty. Recorded data from these mobile payments can be used to identify the buying habits of consumers, which could then be used to create specific incentives to keep them coming back. This data can even help businesses identify sales trends and predict inventory needs.