In an effort to kickstart its mobile payments solution, Android Pay, Google this morning announced a holiday campaign that will see the tech giant donating up to a million dollars toward special education projects in partnership with nonprofit DonorsChoose.org. This is the first time Google has ever worked with an NGO on a mobile payments campaign, the company notes.
However, it’s not the first time Google has tried its hand at mobile giving. Several years ago, the company’s own philanthropic arm, Google.org – which is also now backing this new charitable effort – launched an Android application called One Today. The idea was to allow users to donate $1 to different organizations using their mobile phone. That app is still around, though never cracked 100,000 installs, indicating little interest from consumers in dedicated apps for mobile giving.
Hopefully, this renewed effort which sees Google making the donations, instead of consumers, will do better.
According to Google, each time an Android Pay purchase is made beginning today through the end of the year, Google will donate $1 – up to $1 million. The funds will go to support the 6.4 million children in the U.S. education system with special needs, and will be funneled through DonorsChoose.org.
In addition, Google says it will double its donation for every Android Pay purchase made on Black Friday (Nov. 27).
Like rival Apple Pay, Android Pay is an NFC-based payments solution that works on some newer Android devices, allowing consumers to tap to pay at point-of-sale. This technology is already supported at a number of big-name retailers, including Aeropostale, AT&T, BJs, Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us, Bloomingdale’s, Express, GameStop, Macy’s, Office Depot, Sports Authority, Staples, Walgreens, Whole Foods, and many others.
In total, there are a million locations around the U.S. that support Android Pay today, says Google.
But of course this charitable campaign is not an entirely altruistic effort on Google’s part. The company wants users to adapt to this new way of making payments using their mobile phones, which requires a change in behavior. And old habits can be hard to break. The charitable campaign gives consumers a reason to try to set up and use Android Pay on their phone, and hits them at a time when they’re likely out doing a lot of shopping at brick-and-mortar retailers.
Google.org, which has been supporting DonorsChoose.org projects and has already committed $720,000 to support special education projects across the country, says the new campaign is part of a larger philanthropic initiative from Google with $20 million in grants from Google.org for organizations improving the lives of people with disabilities.
The Android Pay app is available here on Google Play and works on any NFC-enabled Android device running KitKat 4.4 or higher.