Feature Article

March 03, 2016

Google to Debut Hands Free Payment App

Over the past few years, technology has been gunning to make the traditional leather wallet or purse obsolete. Barcodes stored on phones and wearable chips, for example, have been rolled out to speed up the payment process. Now, however, Google is upping the ante after announcing plans for a payment system that does not require customers to use their hands. At all.

The Hands Free App is currently available on iOS and Android devices. Upon installing the app and uploading a profile picture, users can make hands free payments at participating locations. The app uses the location and Bluetooth services integrated into smartphones to determine when they are actually in one of these retailers, and when they are, they cam simply inform the cashier that they will be paying using the app. The cashier will then verify the user’s initials and that their face matches that of the uploaded profile picture, and the credit card attached the app will then be charged.

This should make for a much greater user experience when compared to the quick payment options on the market today, says Pali Bhat, Google’s senior director of product management. “When you think about a user, in a bunch of situations, the experience is quite crummy right now, it's quite clunky,” he remarks. “You don't want your phone in the way, your wallet in the way, you don't want your cash in the way. These are inconveniences that happen multiple times a day.”

Google’s new Hands Free app would do away with all of that fumbling, and would also represent a step up over even the simplicity of taking out a smartphone and opening an app. Google also says that they will be constantly looking for ways to improve the technology. One possibility will be to utilize in store cameras to verify the identity of users, further speeding up the process.

Google is currently employing public testing of the app in the San Francisco area near its headquarters. Should this beta test go well, the mobile payment field will soon gain another powerful and convenient option. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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