The keys to fighting fraud?

September 8, 2016
/   Insights

We're constantly being warned that fraud is one of the biggest threats facing the banking industry, but the true scale of this was revealed by a recent survey that suggests it could make up...

Cause and Effect: If you build it, will they come?

July 23, 2014
/   Spotlight

Many financial institutions assume that digital banking is lucrative because the most valuable customers happen to bank online. While there is certainly a correlation between online bankers and higher profitability, quantitative evidence suggests that...

Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services

April 11, 2011
/   Insights

Today, Intuit released the latest edition of the Intuit 2020 report, Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services, which identifies and examines four key trend areas that will  transform the financial services industry...

Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast...

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

December 18, 2013
/   Spotlight

2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions....

Making Banking Fun: Gamification in Financial Services

August 5, 2013
/   Insights

Recently, the Banking.com team sat in on American Banker’s webinar, “Gamification in Financial Services: Five Proven Ways to Get an Edge,” which shared how leading brands in financial services have applied gamification to reach...

Technology M&As: The Beats Go On

May 29, 2014
/   Insights

The ongoing fascination with Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics is entirely understandable, because it’s a cool story. However, it also says a lot about what’s going on between finance and tech.

What We’re Reading

May 5, 2011
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below. Virtual Banking Worlds Provide Tangible Lessons American...

Small Business: Perception vs. Reality

November 21, 2012
/   Insights

In the most recent election cycle, like most others before it, the one sector of the economy that got the most attention was small business.  This is the future, we were told by every...

What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Edition

November 22, 2012
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom. Mobile Thursday? Plans for Thanksgiving...

From Heritage Bank’s pay-by-sleeve suit to Barclays payment wristbands, everyone is looking for ways to make it easier to pay.

But while wearables could spell the end of the wallet, could the pace of technological change mean wearables are little more than a flash in the pan?

Hands-free

Google has launched its first Hands Free payments app, offering us a glimpse into the future of payments where all the customer has to do is speak a couple of words to carry out the transaction. Forget wearables, this is paying with yourself.

Square has tried something like this before, but it would seem that the market could now be ready to embrace the concept. Of course, at present it relies on the customer having a phone with the app and some manual processes.

It uses a combination of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, location services and other sensors to detect whether the consumer is near a participating store. “This enables you to pay hands-free, without fumbling with your phone or opening the Hands Free app,” says Google.

At the checkout, the customer just has to tell the cashier “I’ll pay with Google”. The cashier then just confirms the ID by asking for the customer’s initials and checking their photo against the person standing in front of them.

But at some stores, Google is taking things a stage further, and gets closer to the goal of genuinely seamless payments.

“At select stores, we are also running very early experiments using visual identification to further simplify the checkout process. This process uses an in-store camera to automatically confirm your identity based on your Hands Free profile picture,” says Google.

These “early experiments” are the most exciting thing about the hands-free payments. By smoothing out the manual processes we can get to a stage where you can walk into a store and pay without really having to do anything.

This is all possible thanks to increasingly sophisticated biometric identification methods and secure authentication processes. With biometrics playing an increasingly central role across the world of payments and banking, fully seamless payments are not going to be far off.

The question for Google is whether its Hands Free app is the difference.

Will it take off?

Square attempted a hands-free payment service before, but ditched it in 2014 because it simply couldn’t get enough retailers to join. The market has definitely moved on since then. In-store mobile payments are growing fast and consumers are beginning to feel comfortable with mobile wallets and contactless technology.

Merchant adoption of the platform is essential. At the moment Google is trialling Hands Free at a few stores in the South Bay area of San Francisco, but it’s hopeful this can be expanded.

Arguably, Google has a bit more clout than Square. Just like Apple Pay has driven NFC acceptance, Google could create the demand thanks to its global footprint.

Consumer demand is maybe tougher. Whether the tech-savvy residents of South Bay can be replicated elsewhere is another matter.

Critical to its success will also be ensuring payments made through the channel are safe and secure. And it looks like Google is taking this pretty seriously.

The app never shares full credit or debit card numbers with the store, while payment details are only shared with the payment processor.

Cashiers can only process the transaction if the Hands Free app detects that the phone is near the store. Users get instant notifications after every purchase, while fraud prevention systems are there to alert them of any unusual activity. Google is also keen to protect personal details, with the images and data from the Hands Free in-store camera deleted immediately after the purchase.

Hands-free payments really offer us a look at the future of payments.

Andy Brown, Marketing Director Payments at NCR Corporation, has nearly 30 years’ experience in e-payment systems both from the delivery and support of systems in the Far East and Europe and in the product management and marketing perspectives. Based in the UK, Andy is responsible for the marketing for NCR’s payments solutions.

(545)

Insights

Banking.com’s perspective on industry news and trends

(324)

Spotlight

Must-read news and insights from financial industry leaders

(211)

Voices

Compelling voices and contributed content from around the web

James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.

Brad Strothkamp

http://www.forrester.com/rb/analyst/brad_strothkamp

Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.