Square and PayPal were among the first to try, many thought Apple Pay would enable BLE payments, and now, according to The Verge, Google will introduce its own “Hands Free” payment service:
“Google debuted Android Pay during yesterday’s opening keynote at its I/O developer conference. But the most interesting payments news came at a late afternoon session, where executives from Google’s commerce division showed off a prototype of a hands-free feature that will soon be beta testing in San Francisco. Customers can walk into a store, say, “I would like to pay with Google” and walk out without having touched their wallet or phone.
We’ve seen attempts at this before, most notably Square’s Card Case. That product let customers open a tab with a merchant and then pay for a purchase by identifying yourself to the cashier. It relied on geo-fencing to confirm your identity by matching you to a certain device. But the service was limited to 20,000 merchants and never found significant traction. PayPal had similar approach with Beacon, a USB dongle that used Bluetooth to give users the same hands-free payment ability.”
Google is launching with two Quick Service chains:
“At yesterday’s Google event it was announced Hands Free would be starting in beta at Papa John’s and McDonald’s, so if it work they will soon have a broad base of stores at which to deploy. You can request an invite to help field test it here.”
According to Tech News Today the service is implemented using a mobile app and Bluetooth, along with a new button on the POS:
“According to Google, the phone will remain in your handbag or pocket and a cashier has to tap a button on the store terminal to start with the payment process. Customers are required to download its app on their smartphones. A Bluetooth sensor simply detects if a customer has the app on their phone and then generates the bill to a customer.”
Time will tell if consumers are comfortable with their account being accessed with such a low friction method.
Overview by Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation at Mercator Advisory Group