Android Pay, Successes and Quirks

5 10 2015
APay

Android Pay

Since it’s launch several weeks ago I have successfully used Android Pay for transactions at two different merchants. The user experience changes depending on which merchant you use Android Pay at. Hopefully consistency will come to Android Pay as it matures.

OfficeDepotPayment 1 – Office Depot – Tap, PIN, Finished.

My first successful transaction at Office Depot went without a hitch. I held my phone to the payment terminal close to the tap and pay icon, it beeped within a second and I saw a green check mark indicating success. I was prompted to enter a PIN on the payment terminal, (similar to the process for a Debit Card). I entered my old Google Wallet PIN and the transaction completed quickly.

That was Easy.

StaplesPayment 2 – Staples – Tap, Sign, Ooops, Finished (eventually).

The second transaction at Staples took a little longer. I saw Apple Pay and Tap and Pay advertising taped onto the payment terminal but it wasn’t obvious where to hold the phone. Maybe the tap and pay icon was obscured by the advertising. I held the phone above the advertising and it beeped and I got a green check instantly.

Then the clerk informed me of the total price charged and I paused. The amount she quoted was three times the price of the item, I questioned the amount. Unlike a Credit Card swipe the payment terminal didn’t ask me if the total amount was OK. I asked the clerk how to cancel the transaction. “You can’t” was the response, “go ahead and sign and I’ll process a partial return”. There’s a difference, I was not asked for a PIN, but asked to sign instead. This seems much less secure.

That wasn't so easy

That wasn’t so easy

After the transaction completed the clerk took 2-3 minutes of several tries to process the partial return, eventually she asked to see my credit card again. I asked do I scan my phone again, I don’t have that credit card on me!?! “No” she said and pressed a button to complete the return. The clerk handed me both the original receipt with the overcharge and a separate receipt showing the credit amount.

That wasn’t so easy.

ChaseI’ll have to wait for the credit to show up

The charge shows up on my Chase credit card as a pending transaction, but the credit has yet to show. This is fairly typical, credits take longer. I’ll add an update to this post once enough time has gone by for the credit to appear.

Summary

To be fair the transaction at Staples took much longer because of the item ringing up at the wrong price. However the difference in the process is both odd and concerning. At Office Depot I entered a PIN to complete the transaction, at Staples I signed, just like a traditional card swipe. How does the check out clerk verify the signature is good if there is no physical card present? Seems very odd and less secure than a traditional credit card.

The lack of confirmation regarding the amount charged is also a concern. It seems to charge without confirming the price charged thereby requiring a credit to correct any errors at the checkout. Not having the physical card also caused extra delay for the clerk to process the credit.

PINEntryI preferred the process at Office Depot, the requesting of a PIN adds an extra layer of security which is superior to traditional credit cards that use a swipe. This new process is also more secure than Chip and Sign cards being introduced. I hope when all the glitches are worked out of Android Pay we end up with a PIN requirement. Tap and PIN is much more secure than Chip and Sign or Tap and Sign.

Credit Update October 6th 2015.

Android Pay Credits Work!!

Android Pay Credits Work!!

The Credit from Staples did get posted 24 hrs later through Android pay. It looks like Credits work just fine. I’ll keep my eye on my Chase account to see when the credit transaction shows up there. The original charge of $24.02 is still showing as a pending transaction.

Credit Update and Rewards Eligibility

I was glad to see the credit transaction posted to my credit card account with Chase. Not just because I got my partial refund, but I also noted that despite the Chase card not being ‘officially supported’ by Android Pay I still accrue the correct rewards points percentage on my credit card.

Android Pay is working just fine as far as I am concerned.

Credits and Rewards points work just fine with Android Pay.

Credits and Rewards points work just fine with Android Pay.

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First attempt using Android Pay – FAIL!

20 09 2015
Android Pay Logo

Android Pay Logo

Google rolled out Android pay on a limited basis in the last few weeks, and nationwide for anyone this week.

I thought I would give it a try. I was in Office Depot which is listed as a Android Pay merchant and there were no other customers. Ideal time to try this new fangled payment method. I had already added my Chase VISA card to Android Pay and all looked good and ready.

I noticed the Tap and Pay icon on the Credit Card Reader. I asked at the checkout if they accepted cell phone payments. “Yes we accept Apple Pay” was the response. Good enough I thought, they’ve probably never heard of Android Pay so I proceeded without asking further questions.

Tap and Pay Icon found on checkout card readers

Tap and Pay Icon found on checkout card readers

I unlocked my phone, held it next to the tap and pay icon and beep, it did something. For some reason it didn’t work, the checkout clerk muttered something and said try again. I tried again, this time it looked good and showed a large a green check in place of the android pay logo on phone. Apparent success, I asked the checkout clerk if it went through.

Then I noticed a prompt on the merchant terminal for a PIN number. Hmmmm. I wasn’t expecting that. I entered my Google Wallet PIN as I could think of no other valid pin. The clerk said my transaction was declined.

Another customer walked up so I decided to pay with plastic and left the store.

So what went wrong?

Declined Tap and Pay Transaction. Click to Enlarge

Declined Tap and Pay Transaction. Click to Enlarge

I visited the Google Wallet webpage and there was was my declined transaction. ‘Please try again’ it said.

Chase Fraud Alert. Click to enlarge

Chase Fraud Alert

Then I noticed a fraud alert email from Chase Bank. They asked me if I was familiar with a suspicious transaction at Google/Office Depot. I clicked on Yes so my card wouldn’t be shutdown.

So it seems Android Pay worked between the merchant and Android Pay on my phone, but the bank (Chase) decided to decline the transaction.

Call to Chase Bank.

I spoke with the fraud Department at Chase. They did the usual identity verification and established the transaction was legitimate and I still had physical possession of the Credit Card. They did not share with me any reason for the transaction being declined, only that they wanted to check with me first. Chase did apologise for the inconvenience of having my charge declined.

The rep assured me that any further transactions with this merchant would be approved. I suppose I’ll find out next time I try and use Android Pay with my Chase card. I was glad they cleared the fraud flag, the odd thing however is this same Chase card has been used for years to top off my Google Wallet when buying apps at the Google Play Store. Maybe because it was a NFC transaction?

I appreciate that merchants and banks will be cautious with a new service like Android Pay. But decline a small $21 transaction? Seems a little over zealous to me. This is the first time Chase have ever declined a transaction. In the past they have even approved transactions while I was unknowingly over my credit limit.