In September of 2015, Google launched its Android mobile wallet payment solution which was has limited participating retail partners. See list: Android Pay Partners. If you’re lucky enough to be located near one of the participating retail stores it is a very convenient idea in concept. You can keep all those wallet-busting credit and loyalty cards inside your phone. The end of fat wallet ass problems for men forever. But things have been going slow for Android Pay due to usability issues by users and store clerks.
Most retail stores do not hire their clerks for their computer tech savviness. A retail clerk has an assortment of payment possibilities to deal with including, Google Wallet, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay in addition to multiple card swipe options. Store clerks use the equipment the establishment offers and likely get minimal training for a sea of mobile payment options now available. Samsung saw an opportunity to take advantage of Android Pay’s awkwardness. Have you seen the recent ad for Samsung Pay where the guys behind the counter laugh at a customer asking to use his smartphone? “It don’t work,” one of the guys laughs and the others enjoy a good laugh on the customer. The customer says, “here try it” and low and behold he taps, it works and he pays. Everyone gets high fives.
That’s not too far from the truth from my experience with Android Pay. First you have to know about the Android “NFC setting and turn it on. This enables the near payments process layer. Then you have to figure out how to dance with the swipe device. Don’t bother asking the store clerks –most are as confused as the users.
Google realized that they were falling behind the Tap wars so they introduced the “Tap Ten” rewards program in late January. The program offered customers rewards of a free music track for every few taps. When you got to ten purchase “taps” you could redeem your 10th tap for a Chromecast device. Whoa! Great deal. Retail cost is 35 bucks. I started tapping, and tapping and tapping and finally reached my tenth Tap at Walgreen’s (the only convenient store near me). I was starting to feel very weird about buying one paper towel a day, becoming compulsive about tapping and wondering why I just didn’t buy one. Like Pavlov’s dogs or pigeons pecking for a crack, I kept tapping. On my tenth tap, while sitting in my car in the parking lot with my paper towel, I felt the dopamine rushing to my brain in anticipation of the big reward. With another wave of tap-induced steroid adrenaline, I tapped to redeem the two remaining songs and then went for the big kahuna, the Chromecast. I had visions of black, red, or yellow dangling from my TV. I do love Chromecast devices. But nothing seemed to happen after I tapped. I thought I did something wrong so I backtracked to click on a previous song. Meanwhile, I kept hearing Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song playing somewhere in my head. Then a minute later a long code flashed by. I figured that Google had a way to seamlessly capture and register that code under your offers and deliver the Chromecast. They are an engineering payments company experienced with Google Wallet. I looked in settings. Nope. No code there. It was gone forever.
While the program ended at the end of Febuarary you have until March 31st to redeem the Chromecast. After six calls to Google support and escalations, Google’s customer service folks are still trying to figure out how to get me a code. Of course, software companies have been using one-time registration codes forever and intuitively now how to issue a replacement code. Apparently, Google hasn’t solved this technical rubicon yet.
Waiting a week for customer service responses and resolution from a company like Google is not acceptable. I don’t know if I’ll ever receive a code and get my black, red or yellow Caster. Are you a happy tapper? Did you get the Chromecast of your dreams?