Things are moving and shaking in the mobile payments space. Apple is hawking Apple Pay, Samsung just bought LoopPay, and Google has acquired tech from Softcard. That Softcard deal may not be the only mobile payments move that Google’s got planned, though, if a new rumor is to be believed.
A new report from Ars Technica claims that Google will introduce a new payments API called Android Pay at Google I/O at the end of May. This API will allegedly let app makers easily add a mobile payment feature to their app, letting users input their card info and then perform single-touch payments in the app.
Google is also purportedly going to let brick-and-mortar store owners adopt the Android Pay API for tap-to-pay purchases in stores. This is expected to include Host Card Emulation (HCE), which eliminates the need for a secure element because the transaction data is routed directly between the NFC reader and the host CPU on which the Android app is running. This will make it easier for Android apps to utilize NFC, especially since the Android Pay API is expected to be built from the start using Host Card Emulation.
It’s worth noting that today’s report suggests that Google Wallet will not be going away. It’ll reportedly stick around and support Android Pay, making it easy for consumers to link their Google Wallet account to another app that supports Android Pay.
It seems kind of strange to hear that Google is planning an all-new Android Pay API instead of just beefing up its existing Google Wallet offering. Perhaps Google thinks that it can get more companies on board with its platform because the Android Pay API will let them use their own branding in their own apps. Or perhaps Google eventually plans to eventually ditch Google Wallet. Everything is a bit hazy right now, but it should all be cleared up here in a few months. Stay tuned.