Google is out with a new version of Android Pay, but it’s the hint at what’s to come that should most pique your interest.
The version 1.3 update lists “receipt notifications for purchases in apps” and “bug fixes and UI updates” in the official changelog, which is rolling out through the Google Play Store (you can also grab it now from APK Mirror).
But a deeper dig by Android Police determined that it might get easier to redeem loyalty and gift cards in the near future. Currently you have to unlock your device and find the specific digital card. The clerk then scans it or enters the code.
In the new version, a few code strings reveal a command to just wake up your phone and hold it to the terminal, just as when you use Android Pay for the transaction.
The ability to tap and use a loyalty or gift card would make it much faster and could encourage more use. Android Pay already does a pretty good job at keeping your reward and gift cards tucked away inside one app. If you enable location services, you’ll even get a push alert when you head to a store where you have a loyalty program. However, I’ve found inconsistent alerts in this regard, which is another area that ought to be addressed with future bug fixes.
Why this matters: Should a more efficient method for redeeming gift and loyalty cards materialize, this could encourage higher usage of Android Pay by retailers who want their loyalty programs always at the ready on your phone. Google needs to convince them that playing nice with Android Pay will mean better interaction and data collection from customers, and this seems like a good method to accomplish that.