Google MWC News

Android Pay: Google Announces Mobile Payment API for Developers

On Monday, Mobile World Congress kicked off. As the event is getting into full swing, Google dropped a few different pieces of news. During an interview on stage, Sundar Pichai – Google’s Senior Vice President of Android and Chrome – revealed that the Mountain View company has been working on a new payments framework: Android Pay. The new framework is different than many of the mobile payment and mobile wallet applications that are available right now – including Google Wallet. In fact, Android Pay is not an application, but rather an API. Engadget’s Matt Brian wrote a pretty good overview of the new service:

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google SVP Sundar Pichai confirmed the existence of Android Pay, a platform that will allow developers to build payments into their apps. Don’t think of it as a separate app like Wallet (especially as Wallet will utilize the Android Pay platform), but as an OS-level service that makes it easy for app makers or retailers to let you to buy things using your Android device.1

The decision to utilize an API – a move clearly aimed at developers – opens a great deal of possibilities. Essentially, Android Pay will offer developers a sort of standardized way to include payment into applications. Again, it is important to note that Android Pay is not a standalone app. Rather it will allow stores or payment providers – think banks or credit card companies – to build out apps that act as a payment source and/or card replacement.

The payments will act similarly to the mobile payment products that are out there already, utilizing NFC. Further, Android Pay will also utilize security measures similar to what is available today. TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington offered a simple explanation of these measures:

Google’s system will tokenize card numbers, in the same way that Apple Pay and Samsung Pay do, meaning it generates a one-time payment token for transmission to the receiving terminal for each transaction, rather than just offering the user’s static credit card information. This decreases the risk if the transmission is intercepted, since a one-time token with finite expiry is of no use once it’s already been consumed.2

While there has been no official announcement concerning release date or availability, Ars Technica is reporting that the API will be released during the company’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, this May. Further, Google Wallet will continue to exist.

  1. Matt Brian, Engadget, “Google’s new mobile payment platform is called Android Pay,” 2 March 2015  
  2. Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch, “Android Pay Is Real, And Will Give Developers The Reins As An API,” 2 March 2015