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Android Pay Makes a Deal With First Data’s Clover And Extends One With PayPal
May 18, 2017

By John Stewart

Recruiting massive processor First Data Corp. and existing partner PayPal Holdings Inc., the Google unit of Alphabet Inc. on Wednesday announced critical extensions of its Android Pay mobile-payment service into both physical and online commerce.

The Android Pay integration into PayPal will make 16 million PayPal-accepting merchants available to Android Pay users, PayPal says.

In an arrangement that will become available to merchants and developers later in 2017, Atlanta-based First Data has agreed to support Android Pay with its Clover unit, which markets point-of-sale devices supported by a library of commerce apps. Through the integration, a set of these apps called the Clover Customer Engagement Suite will support smart tap, a feature of Android Pay that lets users of the mobile wallet collect and redeem loyalty points and coupons at the point of sale through a near-field communication link to their phone.

First Data will not break out how many merchants are using the Clover Customer Engagement Suite. Clover has shipped 500,000 of its devices so far.

“We are delighted to partner with Google to support smart tap,” said John Beatty, cofounder and general manager of Clover, in a statement. “The technology provides a fantastic customer experience with clear benefits to business owners, especially as they seek to develop more impactful relationships with their customers.”

The technology is aimed at simplifying loyalty by allowing mobile users to receive points and coupons and do redemptions with a single tap of their phone at an NFC-enabled terminal. Google had developed an NFC-based loyalty feature for Google Wallet, the predecessor to Android Pay, and augmented the technology in 2015 when it acquired the intellectual property of Softcard, a mobile wallet developed by the country’s major mobile-network operators.

Separately, PayPal and Google agreed to let Android Pay users who also hold PayPal accounts to tap those accounts through the Android Pay wallet for online transactions on Google’s Chrome mobile Web browser. Payments will be streamlined with fingerprint authentication on the mobile device, the companies said.

The new integration with Android Pay, which PayPal chief operating officer Bill Ready said in a blog post would be available to consumers “soon,” will make 16 million PayPal-accepting merchants available to Android Pay for the simplified online transactions.

The deal also makes PayPal more readily accessible for Android Pay users. “Over the past year, PayPal has been focused on forging strategic partnerships with key players across the industry, from Visa and Mastercard to Google and Facebook,” Ready said in the blog post. “These partnerships expand PayPal’s reach.”

"PayPal has nearly 200 million users that are now more likely to use Android Pay than they were before, so that’s a nice boost for Google," says Rick Oglesby, principal at AZPayments Group, a Mesa, Ariz.-based consultancy, in an email message. "It also helps PayPal become more usable, is likely to boost PayPal volume, and it further integrates PayPal into everyday use for consumers."

The latest deal builds on an agreement with Google last month that will let Android Pay users tap their PayPal accounts for brick-and-mortar and in-app transactions. That earlier deal furthers a long-held ambition at PayPal to penetrate the physical point of sale.

Both the Clover and PayPal agreements were announced at the annual Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif.

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