USA TODAY US Edition
Android Pay arrives, but it has a few kinks
App should be available to all users by the middle of the week
While Apple is getting ready to take on the latest Android phones later this month with the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, Google is getting set to go after Apple in a different field — mobile payments.
Last week, Google announced that Android Pay, its revamped mobile payment solution, would be available for Android users.
In traditional Google fashion, the app will be gradually rolled out to Android users running version 4.4 “Kit Kat” or later. Google tells USA TODAY it will begin showing up in the Google Play store over the next several days and should be available to all users by the middle of the week.
In terms of using your phone as a credit card, the experience is similar to Apple’s solution and the old Google Wallet. Just store your credit card into the app and tap your phone to an NFC (near-field communications) terminal to pay.
As with Apple Pay, your phone doesn’t need to be on and you don’t need to be in the app to make a payment.
Unlike Apple Pay, Android Pay does not require a fingerprint scanner to authorize payments, though if your phone supports it you can use this to authenticate your purchase. For the many Android phones that do not have a fingerprint sensor, you can verify your purchases with a four-digit PIN code similar to the way you now verify yourself at an ATM.
When going this route, you will have to go back to the phone to enter the code.
In my experience I had re-tap my phone a second time to confirm the purchase.
In a different purchase I had to enter the PIN code into the credit card terminal directly, though Google says both instances might be early bugs and should not normally be the case.
I tried Android Pay at Walgreens and Staples this weekend using a Motorola Nexus 6, which does not have a fingerprint scanner. While not as elegant a solution as a simple fingerprint swipe, using a PIN code got the job done.
The app recognized the credit cards I had already connected to my Google account, and I was also able to add one in the app, though the “scan your card” feature struggled to recognize some of my cards, resulting in those details having to be entered manually.
Google is rumored to be unveiling new Nexus phones later this month from Huawei and LG that will incorporate fingerprint sensors for better Android Pay support. The forthcoming next version of Android, Android Marshmallow, will also feature better support for fingerprint sensors.