Android Pay comes to the UK


Google’s contactless payment service launches a year after Apple’s 

Google has launched its contactless payment service, Android Pay, in the UK.

With over 60 per cent of UK smartphone users owning an Android handset, the new service will open up contactless payments on smartphone for millions of Brits.

Android devices with near field communications chips running version 4.4 of the operating system or higher will now be eligible for the service, Google said.

The UK is the first market outside of the US to get access to Android Pay, a rival service to Apple Pay, which launched here a year ago, and Samsung Pay, which is due to launch later this year. Google first unveiled the technology in California in May last year, before it went live in September.

Banks that have signed up include Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society, with Natwest and Santander set to support the service at a later day. Barclays recently launched its own contactless service.

uSwitch analyst Ernest Doku said: “Any Android users glancing sideways at their iPhone-owning mates paying for coffees and train tickets with their phones can put the green-eyed monster to rest. Android Pay is here and it’s prolific.

 “Wide-reaching support for NFC means it works everywhere that contactless cards are accepted, but the launch is just the start and work must be done to garner mainstream adoption.
“Much like when MasterCard partnered with Apple Pay to offer free Tube travel, Android is going for the early adopters with ‘Pay Day’  incentives at popular stores, a clever way to get Brits used to small and frequent payments.
“Mobile pay is still in its infancy in the UK, with Apple only just beginning to roll its own platform out to consumers via the mid-range iPhone SE, having limited it initially to the iPhone 6 and newer models. This means Android Pay is unlikely to have been hindered by Apple getting there first.