You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Android Pay this week. What is it? Essentially, it’s Google new mobile payment system for Android devices. But wait, don’t they already have that in Google Wallet? Yes, but Android Pay is different. I’ve seen quite a lot of people confused on the difference, so let me explain.
Android Pay works in many of the same ways as Google Wallet in that you can use NFC to pay, but it does quite a bit more than that. First of all, Android Pay is smarter. Rather than having to open up Google Wallet and typing in a PIN to pay, you simply tap the reader and Android Pay automatically knows you want to pay there and give you a card to select from. Not only will it pull up your card right away, but if you have a rewards card it will also pull that up. For example, if you’re shopping at Walgreens and use Android Pay, your rewards card will come up as an option.
Android Pay will also powers in-app purchases for apps like Uber. So instead of adding a new card for that app, you can simply check out with Android Pay. The API will be open for developers who sell physical goods or services through their apps (digital purchases will presumably still go through Google Play).
So what about Google Wallet? That’s not going anywhere. You’ll still need to use Google Wallet to transfer money between you and a friend, but it won’t be used for tap to pay anymore, or at least that seems to be the case.
Android Pay is compatible with any Android phone running Android KitKat or higher. If you’re on Android M however, you’ll get the best experience as you’ll be able to take advantage of fingerprint authentication.
You’ll be able to use Android Pay at many retail outlets and online as well. Retail chains such as Best Buy, Macy’s, Gamestop, Subway, and many more have signed on to use Android Pay in their stores. In all, over 700,000 locations will be accepting Android Pay. This is all aside from all the places you’ll be able to use it in apps.
Android Pay is expected to launch very soon. Rumors have been flying around that it would be this week, but that’s not the case. However Google is still teasing the release, so it can’t be far off.