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The annoyance of Google Wallet payments may be resolved in Android 15

Google Wallet customers, mainly in Europe, have reported a change in the way contactless payments are authorized. Unlike previously, consumers must now unlock their phones using a fingerprint or PIN for each tap-to-pay purchase, regardless of the transaction value.

9to5Google originally reported that many European users were flocking to Reddit to express their dissatisfaction with the new payment system. In several European nations, contactless payments have typically used expenditure thresholds, so transactions under a certain amount do not require the phone to be unlocked. While this change prioritizes security, it’s fair that it disturbs the previously seamless user experience in which smaller purchases did not require unlocking.

The situation in the United States is different. Except for transit payments, all transactions require the phone to be unlocked. However, unlike iPhones, where every payment requires identification, recent unlocks on Android can often be sufficient for subsequent Google Wallet transactions within a short time frame.

A recent update to Google Wallet’s support pages hinted at an upcoming change, stating that “credit and debit cards won’t be charged for retail payments unless you’ve recently used a verification method.” While some users may already be experiencing this, it indicates a possible shift toward required verification for all payments in the near future. However, there is hope for individuals who are unwilling to give up the smooth contactless payment experience. Android 15 may return the simplicity of seamless contactless payments while maintaining security standards.

The recently published Android 15 Developer Preview 2 includes changes that simplify NFC interactions. According to Google, the newly disclosed APIs would enable Android devices to listen to NFC readers without instantly responding. This paves the way for pre-emptive authentication, which could enable secure one-tap transactions without authentication in some cases. While Android 15 Developer Preview 2 is available for download for enthusiasts willing to risk potential instability, it is recommended to wait for the more reliable Android 15 Betas, which are anticipated next month.

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