To promote Android Pay, Google dangled up to $25 in gift cards to boost enrollment. Now the web search giant is offering a different set of rewards to spur repeat usage of the mobile payments service.
In the latest gambit to drive mobile payment adoption, consumers who’ve already set up Android Pay on their phones can win a free Chromecast TV-streaming device worth $35, when they make at least 10 in-store payments with Android Pay. Participants also may get up to three free songs from Google Play for making multiple purchases with Android Pay. When participants use Android Pay in a store, they will earn a free song for their first, second and sixth purchases.
The “Tap 10” rewards program launched in recent days and runs through Feb. 29, 2016. Google introduced the first version of its Chromecast dongle in 2013, enabling users to stream media from the Internet by plugging the device into their home TV.
The new Android Pay promotion is the latest sign of the challenges of getting consumers to embrace new mobile payment technology. Since Apple Pay’s launch in late 2014—followed by the rollouts of Android Pay and Samsung Pay last year—there’s been little evidence of broad consumer demand for the services. In-app payments so far appear to be more popular than in-store payments for Apple Pay.
Analysts are skeptical about whether promotions with cash and prizes will turn the tide for mobile payments. Giveaways might get certain consumers to enroll their card credentials or complete the minimum number of transactions to win, but they don’t guarantee long-term usage of one mobile payments service or another, according to Tim Sloane, director of consulting for emerging technologies at Mercator Advisory Group.
Cash and rewards were no help for Google Wallet when it launched in 2011 as the first nationally available mobile payments wallet and failed to ignite, he pointed out. Google Wallet was recast as a peer-to-peer payments app when Android Pay rolled out.
If mobile payments services begin to deliver a winning combination of ubiquity, convenience and ongoing rewards, consumers may take notice, Sloane predicted, but giveaways alone aren’t likely to trigger broad changes in consumer behavior.