A Google engineer has revealed that the Android Pay mobile payment system will not work with devices that have been rooted by users.
Why? When a user installs Android Pay on their device, the service performs a check to ensure that the device in question clears the CTS or the compatibility test suite by deploying the SafetyNet API. A device that has a customized ROM or has been rooted will not pass the CTS and, therefore, Android Pay will not work.
Android users, however, are miffed at the lack of support for Android Pay as Google Wallet worked pretty smoothly on rooted devices as well. To calm irate users, a Google engineer took to the XDA Developers forum to placate people.
"Google is absolutely committed to keeping Android open and that means encouraging developer builds. While the platform can and should continue to thrive as a developer-friendly environment, there are a handful of applications (that are not part of the platform) where we have to ensure that the security model of Android is intact," noted Jason Clinton, the Google engineer.
Clinton went on to clarify the differences that exist between Google Wallet and Android Pay, which essentially had to do with how the systems were structured. Google Wallet, unlike Android Pay does not deploy the SafetyNet API to conduct a CTS and could gauge the risk of a potential transaction on its own prior to the authorization of the payment occurring.
However, when it comes to Android Pay, a different system is in place where Google works with several banks and payment networks to tokenize a user's card data. Only this information is passed on to a merchant who then clears the transaction as it is done for traditional purchases made via debit or credit cards.
These steps are in place to ensure security and, therefore, Android Pay's structuring is stricter especially since alternate payment networks, credit unions and banks are involved.
For those wondering if Google will permit rooted devices to run Android Pay, the Google engineer thinks it's unlikely but adds that this is strictly his opinion.