Update: Google has posted a vague tweet to its Android account on Twitter, presumably in response to these reports. It simply says to “stay tuned” and ends with a #soon hashtag. Hard to draw many assumptions.
Android Pay will not go live today despite signals of otherwise from major fast-food chain Subway, and a purported leaked staff memo from McDonald’s, TechCrunch is now reporting.
The new mobile payments service from Google was believed to be seeing a consumer release today after Android Police two days ago shared an image of communications by McDonald’s management to employees detailing the availability of two new mobile payment options, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. We were even skeptical of these at the time, however, as it listed support for Samsung Pay going live on August 21st, which we know can’t be correct as that service won’t go live in the United States for all eligible device owners until next month.
With all doubt stemming from the inaccuracy of the Samsung Pay launch date aside, a report out from the Consumerist which followed shortly thereafter made an official launch seem all the more certain — sandwich chain Subway had sent a newsletter to customers proclaiming that “Android Pay Is Now At Subway!”
TechCrunch in its new post, however, chalks up retailers posting signage and making announcements regarding Android Pay as them simply jumping the gun here. Its “sources familiar with Google’s plans” say no launch is happening today or anytime this week. Anecdotally speaking I’ve begun seeing the Android Pay logo show up on the NFC-supported card readers in several U.S. nationwide retailers already, including Whole Foods, where I’ve personally seen them for several weeks now. I wouldn’t totally place all the blame on the retailers, however, as it would seem like Google’s job to coordinate its launch plans and communicate those clearly to its launch partners in a way that prevents something like this from happening.
Android Pay is Google’s next stab at building a successful mobile payments product after lackluster success with Google Wallet. It includes the ability to pay for goods in retail stores using Android phones with NFC chips, as well as the ability to pay for items sold over the Internet using fingerprint or passcode authentication. The aforementioned Google Wallet up until recently had the same tap-to-pay NFC functionality as well as APIs which enabled developers to accept payments through the service in apps and on the web. That product was retooled with the unveiling of Android Pay, however, to function more like a peer-to-peer money transfer app similar to Venmo, with the payments APIs moving under the Android Pay brand.
Google Wallet was kneecapped from the very beginning when it required access to a secure device chip for NFC payments that the carriers wanted to reserve for their own mobile payment products. Google moved the app to a different solution as a result, but by that point most users and retailers had abandoned it. Most are still expecting Android Pay to launch alongside Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the fall.