Can Google’s mobile payments be made hands-free for Android and iOS?

google hands free mobile payments
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The tech giant is now testing out a form of smartphone based transaction completed without lifting a finger.

While many people might think that contactless mobile payments using NFC technology is essentially as convenient as transactions can get, as they’re simply a matter of waving a smartphone or wearable tech device (such as a smartwatch) over a reader at a cash register, Google is now looking to boost convenience even further.

The search giant is now promoting the use of its Hands Free mobile app to let users pay without doing anything.

The idea behind the Hands Free mobile payments app for both Android and iOS users is that transactions can be made without having to do anything. It allows a consumer to associate a payment method, such as a credit card, with a Google Account, so that a mobile app can initiate a transaction without even needing to complete the transaction. Interestingly, this does not involve the use of Google’s smartphone payment platform, Android Pay. This may have been a highly strategic move by the company, as it was recently noted that the company’s mobile wallet (along with those of other large players such as Samsung and Apple) “have failed to reshape the payments industry,” said Timetric, a research firm.

Still, while tech giants haven’t grabbed hold with mobile payments in the U.S., hands free offers a new convenience.


Pali Bhat, the senior director of product management at Google, used a blog post to explain that the company “wanted to explore what the future of mobile payments could look like.” Bhat went on to say: “Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier.”

In San Jose, California and certain other specific areas, users of a compatible Android or iOS device and who have the Hands Free mobile payments app don’t need to imagine. There are a few retailers and restaurants – such as McDonald’s – that are identified in the app and that are using this hands-free payment technology already, for the testing of the service.

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