Android Pay, formerly Google Wallet, is Google's contactless payment system. Android pay when it was in Google Wallet form, was the first of it's kind mobile payment system. Contactless phone payments started with Android and has gotten some traction lately, though very slow growth appears to be the name of the game here.
As the US has finally started to move to chip based cards, I've noticed a few things. First off is that US based banks use chip and signature, which is far less secure than the European alternative of chip and pin. Chip and pin uses the old security verbiage of use something you have and something you know. The chip card is the thing you have, but is useless without the thing you know, the PIN number. Granted, these are far from the most secure methods that could be devised, but the US alternative of chip and signature is like not even trying. There is some additional security brought by the chip, but it doesn't actually provide the additional security of a PIN number.
Second thing that stands out to me is how awful slow the chip readers in the US are. As we've made the move to chip, the card readers have slowed down significantly as the authentication process takes longer now. Card companies are actively working to massively speed this up, but as it stands now, some cards can double or triple the length of time you spend at a register. Rite Aid being one of the worse offenders in my opinion, taking multiple verification procedures for every transaction.
Those two topics are the reason for me moving more and more to Android Pay. Not only are all of my loyalty cards right there in the app, but I also find that the negotiation between Android Pay and the retailer to be much faster than with a chip card. I am from the fast paced Northeastern US. Notoriously we speak quickly and move quickly, I want my retail checkout fast and I don't want to talk to the clerk for 10 minutes... yet I now live in the slow paced South. Needless to say, anything that speeds up my transaction time is much appreciated.
Beyond speed comes an additional layer of security. While NFC (Near Field Communications) contactless payment systems can be gamed under the right circumstances, Android Pay and Apple Pay have made efforts to increase security. Being app based also means that updates are available at all times, so if there is a security issue, it can be fixed on the fly. Chip cards have already been hacked, but what course of action do we have, we still have reluctant businesses refusing to go chip in the first place, what are the chances of updating their security in real time?
Additionally the apps require a pin or fingerprint before they will release card information to the payment system you are tying to pay. That means that a random stranger cannot just swipe by your phone and steal you money. You must explicitly open the app to activate the payment abilities.
All of this means that more and more my Android Pay app has been coming out lately and I am falling more and more in love with it. There was a time when I wasn't sure that the technology would catch on, even with myself who tends to ride the bleeding edge of tech, but it is starting to take hold now and I couldn't be happier.
Rocket Scientist, Travel Junkie, and Ruler of the 4th Moon of Omicron Persei 8