Google Announces Android Pay, A Service Awfully Similar To Apple Pay
At Google I/O 2015, the Mountain View search giant introduced Android Pay – a new feature for Android smartphones that allows you to make payments right from your device, using a combination of Google’s integration with a number of stores, payment processors, and your existing credit/debit cards etc. Sounds familiar? That’s because it is. Allow me to clarify this from the very beginning (and my displeasure with this fact): Android Pay is awfully similar to Apple Pay, and not just by name but in functionality as well. Let’s take a quick look at all that’s on offer.
Android Pay not only becomes your mobile payment solution, but also a way for you to manage loyalty cards and the like. What this basically means is that you can use Android Pay with select retailers and your stored loyalty cards will automatically get applied. Then, when checking out at a store, you can simply use your phone and the retailer’s POS machine to make a payment, without ever producing your credit/debit card. Android Pay uses native Android notifications to keep you abreast of successful or failed payments.
Android Pay also addresses the question of in-app purchases, but these are not your usual IAPs that we do daily for the titles we’d grabbed from the Google Play Store. What this means is that if you’re shopping online using the Amazon app for Android, you don’t need to supply your credit card details etc (assuming they aren’t already on account), but rather just use Android Pay to make the purchase. This is similar to how Apple Pay integrates in-apps and online sites.
Google also tells you that Android Pay is much more secure than traditional payment means. Like Apple Pay, Google says Android Pay doesn’t share your actual card details with anyone, you do get an element of security in using it. And again like Apple Pay, Android Pay will authenticate this using fingerprint reader, talking of fingerprint reader support, it comes baked into Android M.
Availability Of Android Pay
The new payment system will be made available as an app on Google Play Store “sometime soon.” On the retailers and stores front, Google claims that thousands of major retailers – 70,000 to be more precise – are already onboard, along with a number of online stores as well. The search giant is also working with bank and cellular carriers to make a partnership that extends deeper than competition.
Having read through this, I ask you: how is Android Pay not very similar to Apple Pay? Granted, there isn’t much that you can “innovate” when it comes to a mobile payment system, but then you shouldn’t be calling it being innovative either. For once, while I appreciate Google’s effort – as would millions others invested in Google’s ecosystem – I am disappointed that Google didn’t bring something truly original.