Google Launches "Hands Free" Mobile Payment

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | | 0 comments »

Hands Free
The world is seeing mobile payment systems like Apple Pay and Android Pay making waves in the commerce world by simplifying the buying process. Now, Google is testing a new system where users won't even need to pull their phone out of their pocket to make a purchase.

Last 2 March, Google announced in a Google Commerce Blog Post that it was rolling out a pilot program of an app called Hands Free, which allows users to make purchases from their smartphone without performing any physical actions with the phone itself.

According to the blog post, "Hands Free uses Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi, and location services on your phone to detect whether you're near a participating store." Then, when the customers approach the counter and are ready to pay, they simply tell the salesperson "I'll pay with Google." The cashier will need their initials to complete the transaction, and they will be matched against a profile picture that they add to the app.

In some stores, though, Google is also experimenting with solely using visual identification to complete the purchase. In-store cameras take the picture and the software matches it against the customer's profile photo to confirm their identity. The post also noted that "All images captured by the Hands Free camera are deleted immediately."

For security, Hands Free doesn't share the full card information with the store at which they use it. It also sends the customers' phone a notification whenever a purchase is completed. No images or data used in the process are ever sent to the Google servers. The Hands Free website also mentioned that users will be alerted to "unusual activity."

As mentioned, the program is a pilot, but Google has opened it up to users in the South Bay area of San Francisco. Users can find Hands Free on the Android and iOS app stores, and they'll be able to use it at a few McDonald's, Papa John's, and local restaurants in the region to start. Hands Free works on Android Jelly Bean 4.2 and newer, and iPhone 4s and newer.

The Hands Free website said that Hands Free is a separate payment app and it is not related to Android Pay. So, it will require users to set up a new account to use it. If they are willing to test it out, Google will give users up to US$ 5 off their purchasing using Hands Free.


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