One of the most promising possibilities with an Android watch is using it as a wireless wallet. The potential of paying for products of services with nothing more than a convenient swipe of your wrist is one of the best things you can do with your Android smartwatch.
Yet what exactly can you expect from the best Android watches when it comes to wireless payments? Here are a few things worth remembering:
When people talk about wireless payments, most of them refer to payments made using near field communications (NFC) technology.
Simply put, NFC is when two chips transfer data to and fro each other using radio when they get into very close proximity with each other. This setup uses very little power, making it ideal for Android wearables such as the smart watch.
It is important to note that you will need a watch that has a built-in NFC chip in order to make use of this form of wireless payment.You will also need to sign up for an app or a service that facilitates NFC payments, such as Google Wallet or some other third-party app.
This is how NFC works: the embedded chip within the watch will communicate with the chips on the payment device – usually a small pad. Once this is done, your Android watch will communicate the account information of your payment app to the receiving chip. The whole setup will need internet access to work though, since this is how information is shared between your account, the account of the business you’re working with and the payment service that is facilitating the payment in the first place.
Google Wallet and Android Pay
Google Wallet is an existing payment platform that is handled by – you guess it – Google. It supports NFC wireless payments, although Google Wallet was primarily envisioned as an online payment service that uses credit card information to make digital payments. A lot like PayPal, in a sense.
Android Pay, on the other hand, is Google’s attempt to make it easier for developers to build payment services into their apps. As long as a developer is working with Android, they will be able to use Android Pay to make digital payments – and therefore wireless payments – possible. It is still in development as of this writing, but will make it a lot easier for developers to make apps that will more easily facilitate wireless payments using with your Android Watch or any other Android smart wearable.
Do note, however, that there are some apps and payment options that don’t rely on NFC technology – opting instead for barcode-recognition technology.
Simply put, you sign up for a payment service that generates a unique Android barcode for your use. This barcode will represent your account, and will communicate with a barcode reading app to communicate the details of your transaction. All you’ll need to do is present the barcode on your Android Watch to the barcode reader, and the deal is done.
This also works in reverse. You can buy a specific product or service by reading a barcode with your Android watch, and the value of that product or service will be deducted from your account. However, you will need a digital camera to be installed on your Android smart watch for this whole setup to work. You’ll also need to sign up for a payment service that facilitates transactions for Android barcodes.
This is a decent alternative to NFC technology, especially when it comes to Android wrist watches, phones and tablets that don’t have NFC chips built in. The problem is that this wireless payment system has not really taken off, as establishments are looking more at NFC as the wireless payment technology of choice.
Keep all these in mind, and you’ll be better prepared when exploring the wireless payment options that are compatible with your Android watch!
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