Mar 04, 2016

    Google tests Hands Free payment with digital wallets


    GOOGLE is testing ways to let people use digital wallets without having to even take smartphones out of their pockets, it said on Wednesday.

    The Internet colossus is dabbling with ways to make its Android Pay system for smartphones hands-free, with verification by facial recognition, Google product manager Pali Bhat said in a blog post.

    "Imagine if you could rush through a drive-through without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the park without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier," he added.

    "This prompted us to build a pilot app called Hands Free that we're now in the early stages of testing."

    Hands Free became available for smartphones powered by Apple or Android software and was being rolled out at a small number of Silicon Valley area eateries, including McDonald's and Papa John's, according to Google.

    The digital wallet uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections alone, with location sensing capabilities in smartphones, to detect when someone is near a store enabled with Hands Free payment technology.

    "When you're ready to pay, you can simply tell the cashier, 'I'll pay with Google'," Mr Bhat said. "The cashier will ask for your initials and use the picture you added to your Hands Free profile to confirm your identity."

    At some locations, Google is experimenting with using cameras in stores to recognise people with Hands Free digital wallets so they can pay without even pausing.

    Since Android Pay was launched in September, an average of 1.5 million accounts have been registered monthly in the United States and the number of locations accepting it has topped two million, according to Google.

    "We're busy working to bring the convenience of Android Pay to more countries and a growing list of stores and apps," Mr Bhat said.

    Google's mobile wallet competes with Apple Pay and others as people's reliance on smartphones expands to using handsets to make payments in real-world shops.