Google has just announced that they will be shutting down their hands free payment app on February 8. On their website, Google encourages longtime users to “enjoy quick, easy checkout with Android Pay.”
Android Pay, however, is very different. The idea of Hands Free payment was that users would register within the app then tell the cashier at a Hands Free compatible store that they were paying with Google and give their initials. The cashier would then pull up a picture of them and confirm their identity. The user would go on their way and they would be much happier than they would have been had they needed to take out their credit card.
Or at least that was the idea. According to Google, they have had lots of positive feedback, and the Hands Free app had 4.5 stars on Google Play. It seems to me that now isn’t a great time to revoke this app. Since many users are happy with it and the amount of stores that support it is growing every day, why not keep the app alive?
The answer may lie in Google’s future. On the Hands Free website, Google attributes the reason for the app’s closing to “working to bring the best of the Hands Free technology to even more people and stores.” Hopefully this alludes to a more cohesive hands free experience that will work in many more stores.
One company that has already made an easy and widely usable mobile payment system is Samsung. With Samsung Pay, all the user needs to do is swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap. Then, through magnetic fields, the phone acts as a mag-stripe card. The card reader reads the phone’s signal like any other credit card, and the payment goes through.
Although Samsung’s solution still requires the user to hold their phone during the transaction, almost all stores (whether they know it or not) support Samsung Pay. Android Pay and Apple Pay, however, both require compatibility from your store of choice for NFC contact with your phone.
I hope Google builds a system like Samsung Pay, in that it will not require store support. Almost all stores will support it (like they support Samsung Pay) and it will be hands-free. Also, compatibility with their new smartwatches would be nice! If Google can pull all that off, I think it will have a much bigger chance at being the king of the mobile payment hill. I personally would use it, and I know many people who also would.
Good reviews of Google’s Hands Free say it is great because of its convenience, but bad reviews say it is bad because of its lack of support. If the new system keeps the old system’s convenience but adds a lot more store support, Google’s new Hands Free system will be the best system yet.
Whether you have used mobile payment in the past or want to start using it, it’s the perfect time. Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and *gasp* Apple Pay are better than ever, and Google’s new “pay” is likely to be the best yet. Just don’t go spending all your money the first day you use mobile payment!