May 29th, 2015 publishUpdated   Aug 18th, 2015, 8:45 am

There are a lot of great new features in Android M but perhaps the most useful is Android Pay. Not to be confused with Google Wallet, Android Pay is actually a Google-Wallet compatible API that lets developers build a streamlined and trusted payment system directly into their app. For Android users this makes paying for goods – whether at a physical store in a new app – easier than ever before.

Android Pay: Tap to pay in stores

Here’s an example of using Android Pay in the real world, in this case, to purchase a beverage from a vending machine.

Deal lovers will absolutely love one piece core piece of Android Pay functionality:

Also, with select retailers, your loyalty programs and special offers will be automatically applied at checkout. For example, when you tap to buy a Coke at a vending machine, your MyCokeRewards will be automatically applied. With Android Pay the contactless terminal not only receives your payment info, but also your loyalty programs and offers.

All those hard earned rewards points might finally get redeemed before they expire!

Android Pay: Tap to pay in apps

But perhaps the coolest part of Android M is the ability for developers to build Android Pay directly into their app, allowing developers to build a native store directly into the experience for Android users. In this next video, we see how one app – Wish – integrates Android Pay directly into the UI flow.

I know: all of that happened so fast. Let’s rewind it back and see those details in slow motion.

From the home screen, we tap on the Wish app icon, one of the only apps to initially support Android Pay.

Android-Pay-Step-1-Wish

Then app pops open and you’ll notice the active tab is “Google I/O”; this is a special tab created especially for this custom Android Pay experience. All Android developers will have access to creating these same type of instances.Android-Pay-Step-2-IO-Tab

This live demo allows us to purchase two different items:

  • Android Mini Collectible
  • Android T-Shirt

I went ahead and decided to buy the Android Mini Collectible, hoping to get lucky and open the box to find one of the rare versions that are selling for hundreds on eBay (and no, I wouldn’t sell it).

Android-Pay-Step-3-Product-Screen

The beautifully material designed product page has a clean “BUY” button in the bottom right that we go ahead and tap.

Android-Pay-Step-4-Checkout

And now we’ve got our checkout options including a “Buy with pay” button (where the magic happens).

Android-Pay-Step-5-Confirm-Details

Even though we’ve never used this app before, our credit card details are automagically selected from our Android Pay profile to simply select the proper card/address and continue on.

Android-Pay-Step-6-Place-Order

One last chance to make sure we’ve got all the purchase details correct, tap to place order, and we’re done. Android Pay makes purchases easy – even the very first time – regardless of the location or app (so long as it supports Android Pay).

Now I know you’re probably asking yourself two questions:

  1. Is this secure? I don’t want my credit card details getting stolen!
  2. Where can I use Android Pay?

Let’s get those questions answered.

Is Android Pay Secure?

Directly from Google themselves:

So when you shop at a store, Android Pay won’t send your actual credit or debit card number with your payment. Instead we’ll use a virtual account number to represent your account information — providing you with an extra layer of security. And if your phone is ever lost or stolen, simply use Android Device Manager to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password or even wipe it clean of your personal information.

Lending further confidence to the platform are some well-known financial institutions who are vouching for Android Pay: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, VISA, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions, USAA, and US Bank.

android-pay-partners

Where can I use Android Pay?

The tech enthusiast in us wants Android Pay to be available everywhere immediately, but the reality is that there is a lot of money at stake and business is business. The politics and partnerships will take awhile to pan out, but even before that dust settles, Android Pay has a healthy amount of participating stores and apps.

android-pay-stores

There are some biggies in there although it’s fair to point out the notable omission of Starbucks.

As for when you’ll be able to start using Android Pay? That’ll happen later this year once we know what Android M means and we see it released into the wild on its very first devices.