Android Pay Tap Ten Program Taps My Patience

In September of 2015, Google launched its Android mobile wallet payment solution which still has a very limited participating retail list. See list: Android Pay Partners. If you’re lucky to be located near one of the participating retail stores that has something you need it’s very convenient.  You can keep all those wallet-busting credit cards and loyalty cards inside your Android phone.  Mobile payments could be the cure for the fat “wallet ass” problems men have forever been dealing with. But things have been going slow for Android Pay due to usability issues by experienced by users and store clerks. Which is probably why you’re now seeing TV ads for Samsung Pay presumably capitalizing on the frustrations of Android Pay users.

Most retail stores do not hire their clerks for their computer tech savviness and they already have an assortment of payment possibilities including, Google Wallet, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay in addition to multiple card swipe options. Store clerks use the  equipment the establishment offers and likely get minimal training for the several mobile payment options now available.

The Samsung Pay ad begins with the guys behind the counter going into stitches when a customer approaches the counter asking to use his smartphone for Android Pay. “It don’t work,” one of the guys laughs as the others join in letting the customer in on the joke. So the customer says, “here try it”  and low and behold he taps, it works and he pays. Everyone gets high fives.

That’s not too far from the truth from my experience with Android Pay. First you are reminded to turn on Android “NFC”. This enables the near payments process layer. Then you have to figure out how to dance with the swipe device. This requires some thinking. Do you just touch it to the swipe screen? Do you swipe it?  Don’t bother asking the store clerks –most are as confused as the users. Oh, and you have to hit the “pay it” icon too.Too many steps.

Google realized that they were falling behind the Tap wars so they introduced the “Tap tapten1Ten” rewards program in late January. The program offered customers rewards of a free music track for every few taps. When you got to ten purchase “taps” you could redeem your 10th tap for a Chromecast device. Whoa! Great deal! Retail cost is 35 USD. I started tapping, and tapping and tapping and finally reached my tenth Tap at Walgreen’s (the only convenient store near me). I was starting to feel very weird about buying one paper towel a day, and becoming compulsive about tapping. Why didn’t I just didn’t buy one. But like Pavlov’s dogs or pigeons pecking for a cocaine rush.  I kept at it.

On my tenth tap, while sitting in my car in the parking lot surrounded by my paper towel, I felt the dopamine rushing to my brain in anticipation of the big reward. With another wave of tap-induced steroid adrenaline streaming through my veins, I tapped to redeem the two remaining songs and then went for the Big Kahuna, the Chromecast.  I had visions of black, red, or yellow Chromecasts dangling from my TV’s HDMI port and streaming binges on weekends. But nothing seemed to happen after my final tap. I thought I did something wrong so I backtracked to click on a previous song while Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” played endlessly in my head. Then a minute later, a code flashed quickly by.  I figured that Google had a way to seamlessly capture and register that promo code which is needed at the online Google Chromecast store. Google is a payment processing player and an engineering company. They’ve been operating Google Wallet for several  years so they should know better. I looked in settings. Nope. No code there. It was gone forever.

While the program ended at the end of Febuarary you have until March 31, 2016  st to redeem the Chromecast.  After six calls to Google Support and escalations, they are still trying to figure out how to get me a code.  Of course, software companies have been using one-time registration codes forever and intuitively now how to issue and deliver a replacement code.  Apparently, Google hasn’t solved this technical rubic’s cube yet.

Waiting a week for customer service responses and resolution from a company like Google is not acceptable. I don’t know if I’ll ever receive a code and get my black, red or yellow Caster.  Are you a happy tapper? Did you tap your way to ten and get the Chromecast of your dreams or were you left streaming in the wind?

Update: Google support finally got back to me and issued a redemption code. I was able to redeem it for a new Chromecast. The optional fast delivery shipping charges were $12.00 or almost 1/3 the cost of a Chromecast. But that’s fine. It was my option to elect two day delivery.

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