Sundar Pichai said today that Google is working on a new service called Android Pay to bring the company into the payments fray alongside Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Pichai said that Google believes the payments space is set to take off this year, and that they want to make it easy for users to carry their credit cards in their phones instead of their wallets. Android Pay is a real thing that is happening, but it’s a little different than what Apple Pay is, or even what Google Wallet currently looks like.
Android Pay is an API framework that developers will be able to tap into when they are creating their own payment apps. Just like any other API that Google and others offer, Android Pay will help developers in their own products. Google Wallet isn’t going anywhere, either. Wallet will be one of the apps that uses the Android Pay API. The new API framework is secured using tokenization and one-time use card numbers. Even if a bad guy gets your credit card number at the point of sale, it won’t be your actual card number. They won’t be able to use it for anything else, or get access to your money. Android Pay will work over NFC. It will support biometric security, like a fingerprint scanner, sometime in the future. Your card information is securely stored on your local device, not in the cloud. You’ll be able to make a payment even if you don’t have a data connection.
Google never got much traction with Wallet, even though it was available to consumers for years before Apple announced Apple Pay last year. This move puts Google in charge of some of the back-end processing, while allowing developers to come up with new and interesting ways for people to use mobile payments. Apply Pay ignited the mobile payments space that others had started, but Google isn’t going to let them have all the fun, or make all the money. Samsung understands this as well, and is looking to capture some of the markets with their new Samsung Pay platform. This all shapes up as a win for consumers and those of us that are excited about leaving our wallets at home.