March 5, 2015
Google is coming up with a new payments API called Android Pay. The tech giant is poised to announce its new payment system at the upcoming I/O Conference in May, as reported by Ars Technica. The Android Pay API will allow companies to integrate a mobile payments option into their apps, and users to add payment card details to make seamless one-tap transactions. Android Pay will allow contactless transactions by using HCE (host card emulation) technology leveraging the NFC chips in enabled Android smartphones.
Sundar Pichai, one of Google’s top executives, said at the Mobile World Congress that Android Pay will act as an API layer for companies to support secure payments both in-store and in-app, as reported by The Verge. Pichai had also mentioned that Android Pay might accommodate support for biometrics as well. We are already aware of some Android smartphones, like those of Samsung and Huawei, that have built-in fingerprint sensors.
Considering the fate of Google Wallet, it may continue to exist as a separate entity and still have the support of Android Pay. This could allow users to link their Google Wallet accounts to third-party apps running Android Pay. It’s unclear whether Google Wallet APIs will eventually be phased out as Android Pay APIs come into the picture. We had previously reported on Google’s plan for discontinuing Wallet API support for digital goods.
So How is Android Pay Different from Apple Pay or Samsung Pay
Apple Pay and Samsung Pay have been designed to allow in-store NFC based payments using your smartphone. Apple Pay works only on iPhone 6 models while Samsung Pay will work only on the Galaxy S6 models. Additionally, Samsung Pay makes use of MST (magnetic secure transmission) to enable payments at traditional magstripe readers as well.
Both Apple Pay and Samsung Pay seem similar in nature, but Android Pay is quite different in the sense that it is ideally a platform and not a product like the other two. Android Pay, acting as an API layer, would provide mobile payments capabilities for the billion plus Android smartphone users who already possess NFC enabled Android smartphones. This gives Android Pay the opportunity to reach a far greater number of users than Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
Given the differences above, Android Pay does have the ability to make a mark in the mobile payments market. But only time will tell whether this new mobile payments system by Google will see significant growth and whether it will follow in the footsteps of its older sibling, Google Wallet.