Google's Android Pay could launch as soon as today as indicated by news leaks from two quick-serve restaurant chains.
While unconfirmed by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), a notice was sent to employees at McDonald's restaurants advising them to expect Android Pay to go live Aug. 26. This is a month in advance of the Sept. 28 arrival of Samsung Pay, which is expected to be Android Pay's biggest competitor in the Android mobile payments space. In an apparent mistake, the notice says Samsung Pay will launch Aug. 21, which is the date the new Samsung devices Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 launch. A Samsung Pay beta trial with unspecified users will begin Aug. 25.
|Android's website: Android Pay "coming soon"|
Separately, Subway has sent its FreshBuzz newsletter to subscribers proclaiming "Android Pay is now at Subway!" Consumerist was tipped by a reader, but unable to confirm the date with Subway.
Google has kept the details of the upcoming Android Pay launch quiet and speculation has surfaced in the past. But Android Police noted that McDondald's is a preferred partner and Google often uses Wednesdays for its releases. The online news source displayed a screen grab and a laminated "confidential" memo posted in McDonald's locations.
See the leaked memo from McDonald's here
The memo said that the McDonald's stores should expect to receive mobile pay window decals in an Aug. 27 point-of-purchase kit to make customers aware of new payment options.
Even if this is a false alarm, the Android Pay launch is getting closer. A South Korean report by the Yonhap News Agency said LG will launch a new device in October with the next Android operating system, Marshmallow, and Android Pay preinstalled.
"We know retailers are ramping up for Android Pay—many already have Android Pay placards and stickers on their credit card terminals, and I regularly see them here in Los Angeles at stores like Trader Joe's and CVS," wrote David Ruddock of Android Police. "We've also had numerous readers tip us about similar signs and stickers in the past few weeks, so they're clearly becoming more and more common."
How credible is this information from McDonald's? Ruddock wrote that Google would likely inform McDonald's in advance of Android Pay's approximate launch window. "It's equally possible this date relies on old information and that the launch has since changed, we just don't know. It does seem reasonably likely, if nothing else, that Aug. 26 at some point was, and possibly still is, a good bet for Android Pay's approximate public launch. We'll just have to wait until Wednesday to see if this one holds up," he said.
While Samsung Pay and Apple Pay only work on the companies' newest devices, Android Pay could work on any Android device with near field communication, according to Forbes. Samsung and Apple have established strong security systems, but it's not clear yet how Google will secure Android Pay.
Meanwhile, Samsung Pay has hit a speed bump on its road to a national launch next month. Verizon, the largest wireless carrier, has yet to endorse Samsung Pay and said that it is "evaluating" the service for now, The Verge reported. In the past, Verizon has blocked Google Wallet, but will strongly back Android Pay, possibly cutting off Samsung Pay.
Merchant Customer Exchange's CurrentC, a mobile payment system backed by several major retailers including Walmart, Target and Best Buy, will begin a pilot test in Columbus, Ohio, this month, but may postpone a rollout until next year.
*An earlier version of this story appeared in FierceMobileRetail's sister publication, FierceRetailIT.
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