Google testing hands-free mobile payments

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Google testing hands-free mobile payments

No need to get your phone out.

Google is testing a hands-free method of mobile payments with a pilot program in the United States.

The 'hands free' technology uses a phone's Bluetooth, wi-fi and location services to connect with a point of sale system, negating the need for an individual to swipe their phone near the terminal. 

The company today said it was launching a pilot in the San Francisco Bay Area with several McDonald's, Papa John's and other eateries taking part.

At point of sale, a user notifies a cashier they are paying with Google, hands their initials to the vendor, who types in the details and closes out the transaction. The customer is verified by a visual comparison of their face to the photo they attach to their 'hands free' profile.

Google said it was also experimenting with an in-store camera to automatically conduct the facial recognition test. It added that all images captured by the in-store camera were immediately deleted.

Google expects the feature, once fully rolled out, will help expand the use of its mobile payments platform Android Pay. It said 1.5 million new users are signing up to the service each month in the US.

"Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier," the search giant wrote in a blog post.

It is offering pilot participants up to US$5 off a customer's first purchase using the hands free feature.

Android Pay landed in Australia late last year, with initial partners including the likes of ANZ Bank, Westpac, ING Direct, Macquarie Bank, St George, Bank of Melbourne, Bank of South Australia and Bendigo Bank.

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