Despite what seems like a lot of upstream swimming over the last few years, Google has managed to turn Android Pay into one of the more popular and used mobile payment options available for users. In addition to continuing to add more cards and banks to the program, Google is also hoping to expand usage by making it easier to deploy in more situations. To that end, at Google I/O the company announced a new Google Payment API that will streamline checkout for customers and give retailers and sellers a new path to collect payments.
One of the issues with Android Pay is that it is connected to an Android device and all of the payment methods have to be added to the app. At the same time, Google has been building out a similar portfolio of payment options for individual users through their browsers that are connected to their Google accounts. This makes it easy for Google to collect payments on any device when users are doing things like buying content in the Play Store. A box pops up asking users which payment method to use and they are good to go with one or two taps.
With the new Google Payment API, this same ease of payment selection will be available to developers trying to improve the checkout process for customers in their apps. This means users will not have to load up Android Pay as a separate app or rely on their credentials having been saved in their browser or fill out bunch of information again just to make a transaction. The use of the Google Payments API will also separate the ability to access payment information from a a specific device to living in connection with a Google account.
One way Google is capitalizing on the new API internally is through the addition of payment and transaction support via the Google Assistant on Google Home or Android devices. As shown during the keynote address, when combined with Actions on Google, users will be able to make all kinds of purchases from within the Google Assistant framework using just voice commands. Google also says they will expand this feature so that people can send money directly to other private individuals, for any reason, using the same methods.
Back to Android Pay and Google payments, a new Card Linked Offers API is being rolled out to help merchants build customer loyalty by giving them tools to engage customers before and after a transaction occurs. As an example of this, Google cites Panera Bread as an early adopter of the program. By connecting a MyPanera account with their loyalty card in Android Pay, Panera Bread will be able to push out information about new menu items or offer coupons to customers when they arrive at a store.
Google also has plans to make it easier for users to connect their loyalty cards to their Android Pay app. Currently, if a user manually enters or scans their loyalty card information and then pays with Android Pay, no change is made. However, Google plans to make the system work so that Android Pay will offer to link the loyalty card to Android Pay and use it for future visits.
Google has also announced an expansion of their smart tap technology through a collaboration with Clover. This will help drive the availability of Android Pay to smaller businesses using Clover developer APIs for their loyalty card and gift card programs.