If you own a Pixel 7 or 7 Pro and you use contactless payments on a regular basis, you need to know about this “bug” that could affect you. As you may be aware, the Pixel 7 series shipped with Face Unlock, which was a welcomed addition for longtime Pixel users that missed having that feature since its removal after the Pixel 4.
However, it is important to note that the Face Unlock feature of the Pixel 7 series varies quite a bit from the one used on the Pixel 4. Since the Pixel 7 only uses the device’s front-facing camera and some AI magic to authenticate you, it is considered a Class 1 biometric. This means that its only acceptable function is to unlock your phone and not to grant access to more secure tasks like accessing passwords or making contactless payments.
This distinction, coupled with what seems like an oversight in UX design, is causing some confusion out there. Some users have reported trying to make payments using Google Pay on their Pixel 7/7Pro devices after unlocking it with their face, only to be met with a declined payment. After the payment is declined, the phone will then prompt the user to unlock the phone via fingerprint, at which point the payment will proceed and go through.
Understandably, this is causing some issues as there is nothing in the UX that tells the user that they can’t make a payment until their fingerprint is used, resulting in embarrassing situations where payments are declined without the user knowing why. This isn’t the end of the world, but shouldn’t have to happen when we have so much technology available to assist us with these things.
My opinion echoes that of @MishaalRahman, whose Tweet explained what was happening in the back end, that the easiest way to resolve this would be to update the Google Wallet/Pay app to force users to use their fingerprint as soon as they try to make a payment, and not after the payment has been declined. Hopefully, Google will take notice of this as soon as possible and work on a fix now that this issue has come to light.