6 hands-free payments projects

As technology evolves, payment capabilities become more deeply embedded, becoming practically invisible to the end user. This concept works already in specific use cases such as Uber, and many companies have yearned to implement a hands-free payment experience for all of retail.

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As technology evolves, payment capabilities become more deeply embedded, becoming practically invisible to the end user. This concept works already in specific use cases such as Uber, and many companies have yearned to implement a hands-free payment experience for all of retail.
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Google Hands Free
The recently shuttered Google Hands Free combined several mobile payment technologies. It relied on Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS to detect a customer's presence in a store and initiate payment. For authentication, a customer uploaded a picture and provided his or her initials. The pilot began in March 2016 and is set to shut down on Feb. 8. Google is urging testers to switch to Android Pay instead.
A smartphone, sunglasses and payment card
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WaveShades
Visa is testing the process of embedding contactless payments into sunglasses. The project isn't truly hands-free — users must remove their shades to tap them against a contactless reader — but it eliminates the need for hands-on practices such as reaching into a wallet or purse.
A man wearing Google Glass
An attendee adjusts his Google Project Glass glasses during the Google I/O Annual Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Google Inc., developer of the Android mobile-phone platform, plans to start a subscription music-streaming service as soon as this week that would compete with Spotify Ltd., people with knowledge of the matter said. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Google Glass
Another early concept for eyewear-based payments was the Google Glass app economy. Though Google never officially embedded Google Wallet or Android Pay into its ill-fated eyewear, developers toyed with the idea of using Google Glass' built-in camera to read QR codes to access bitcoin wallets.
early jack dorsey and square
Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter Inc. and chief executive officer of Square Inc., speaks during a television interview in New York, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 25, 2010. Square's mobile-payment technology allows smartphone users to make credit card payments and the availability of funding for new ventures. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Jack Dorsey
Square Wallet
Square's early strategy involved a consumer mobile wallet that would operate at Square merchants. The concept was scrapped and relaunched repeatedly, and in one incarnation it was presented as a hands-free experience where Square Wallet users would use an app to alert merchants to their presence. Merchants would then receive a photo of the shopper for authentication.
paypal sign
PayPal signage is displayed in front of eBay Inc. headquarters in San Jose, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. EBay Inc. is spinning off its PayPal division, heeding demands by activist shareholder Carl Icahn and giving the business independence it can use to contend with rising competition from Apple Inc. and Google Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
PayPal 'Face ID'
PayPal also dabbled in hands-free payments with a model similar to that of Square Wallet. The cloud-based PayPal wallet asked consumers to check in via app to transmit their photo to a participating merchant. Though its initial test in 2012 in New York produced only a fraction of the transactions PayPal and its partner ShopKeep anticipated, PayPal continued development of the wallet app, launching it in the U.K. the following year.
computerized hand
ADS VeriChip
The Applied Digital Solutions VeriChip came to market in 2002 with the promise of being able to wirelessly transmit consumer ID information from a rice-sized chip implanted under the skin. One of the many use cases the company envisioned was payments, and Mastercard briefly considered the idea.
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