The mobile payment industry had another solid boost at Google I/O 2015 in San Francisco. Their keynote was completely dominated by mobile and quickly introduced Android Pay, which launches as part of the new Android M in Q3 2015.
Android Pay addresses mobile credit and debit card payments using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in stores, and online from partner apps, for physical goods and services. It provides a compelling Google alternative to Apple Pay. Leading US mobile operators are working closely with Google to pre-configure subscribers mobile phones in stores. This follows Google’s deal to adopt Softcard, the operator-backed mobile wallet initiative, to help expand the reach of Google’s mobile payments system. Google announced availability in 7000+ retail stores across the US.
Google also announced a new Hands-free Payments trial with McDonald’s and Papa John’s Pizza in the San Francisco Bay Area. This new Android app uses Bluetooth technology to automatically authorize Android Pay payments in store, without the need to even touch your phone, simply by providing your name to the cashier. Hands-free Payment leverages true mobile capabilities rather than simply trying to replace widely adopted cards with a smartphone and NFC terminals. It aligns well with the Bango mission to leverage state of the art mobile technology to dramatically simplify payments and also with more recent industry views, including those by Amazon. The Google Hands-free Payment trial follows similar initiatives launched by Square in 2011 and by PayPal in 2013. Mass uptake of Google smartphones should ensure third time lucky.
For many, Google’s payments plans beyond carrier billing seemed, for a couple of years at least, to have gone dormant. With this announcement they are strongly back in the frame for driving point of sale payments forwards. Meanwhile, Google is taking full advantage of Direct Carrier Billing with over 60 mobile operators now live, and more being added each month. A growing number of these mobile operators choose to standardize on the Bango Payment Platform for Google Play and other app stores, ensuring a unified solution with the fastest time to market, the lowest integration and operational costs and maximum profitability.