Android Pay to expand into Europe ‘soon’

Spencer Spinnell and David Birch
CHAT: Google’s Spencer Spinnell was interviewed by payments industry personality David Birch at Money20/20

Google is actively working towards launching Android Pay in Europe, director of emerging platforms Spencer Spinnell has revealed at Money20/20 Europe. “Europe is particularly exciting,” he explained, and an expansion of the service to the continent can be expected “soon”.

“We look at Android penetration, we look at markets with high end devices and there are many,” Spinnell said. “I’m not going to remark right now about other markets but it’s safe to say that the large majority of Europe is prime. We’re looking at where we can add the most value — again, it comes down to the ecosystem, the merchant footprint, the contactless ecosystem.

“We’re not in this business to toll anyone”

“These are things we look at and evaluate and, of course, there’s the appetite and readiness of the financial institutions. Android Pay is not our first foray into mobile payments. We’ve had many attempts, some of which have failed. The answer is soon.”

“We’re not in this business to toll anyone,” Spinnell added in response to a question about whether the business model of Android Pay will be different from that in the US when it makes its European launch.

“We’re certainly not tolling the issuing banks, we are not going to toll the merchants who are already under enormous pressure. Android needs to be best in class, it’s really very simple. Payments has to work and it has to work seamlessly.”

“We’re incredibly excited about all the momentum around contactless,” Spinnell added. “We believe that where we can really add value is around the in-store experience.”

Hands Free

Spinnell also gave attendees more detail on the Google Hands Free payments pilot which is currently live in San Francisco. “Hands Free, quite simply, takes the notion of the payment and completely puts it in the background,” he explained.

“It’s early, early days and we’re just trying to evaluate if there’s a consumer proposition here. But quite simply, what happens is, the user goes up to the associate, orders their Happy Meal, their Big Mac and their fries and they simply say I want to pay with Google. There’s a tender type on the point of sale, they walk out. They’ve never taken their phone out of their pocket, there’s no cash been exchanged.

“There’s an integration to the point of sale which is in place today with this pilot that I’m referencing. They ask you for your initials, the initials are the identifier. We’re using geolocation, proximity-based to understand that your Android phone is in your pocket and within a couple of seconds, we’ve identified where you are in the queue.”

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