Google wallet
Google is testing ways to allow people to use handsfree digital wallets without tapping into their smartphones.Getty Images

Google announced on 2 March that it is testing new ways to allow people to use digital wallets without tapping into their smartphones. The aim of Google's mobile wallet that competes with Apple Pay is to be able to use face recognition as a method of verification to allow its Android Pay system to be hands-free.

"Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier," said Google product manager Pali Bhat. "This prompted us to build a pilot app called Hands Free that we're now in the early stages of testing."

According to Google, the Hands Free app that uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology has already been made available for Apple and Android smartphones. The app works by using the location functionality in smartphones to detect if a person is close to a retail store with Hands Free payment technology.

"When you're ready to pay, you can simply tell the cashier, 'I'll pay with Google,'" said Bhat. "The cashier will ask for your initials and use the picture you added to your Hands Free profile to confirm your identity."

A number of Silicon Valley fast food chains, like McDonald's and Papa John's have already enabled the Hands Free technology. "We're busy working to bring the convenience of Android Pay to more countries and a growing list of stores and apps," said Bhat, reported AFP News.

Meanwhile, an earlier study conducted by security firm ViaForensics suggested that Google Wallet doesn't protect users' personal data, storing it in an unencrypted format. "While Google Wallet does a decent job securing your full credit card numbers, the amount of data that Google Wallet stores unencrypted on the device is significant," read the ViaForensics' report. "Many consumers would not find it acceptable if people knew their credit card balance or limits."