Apple Pay may have already touched down in the UK, but over in the US, the battle of the payment apps is in full flow. Alongside Apple’s payment service, those in the US can also use Google’s Android Pay or Samsung’s originally titled Samsung Pay – depending on their choice of smartphone of course. Google’s payment app, Android Pay, has been available across the Atlantic for a few months, and we’re expecting it in the UK soon. But what is Android Pay, what can you do with it, and when is it getting here?
Android Pay in the UK: All you need to know
Android Pay UK release date is coming
Earlier this year, Google confirmed that Android Pay was being launched in the UK, and recently Google’s director of emerging platforms, Spencer Spinnell, said it will be coming sooner rather than later. Spinnell told NFCworld.com: “We look at Android penetration, we look at markets with high-end devices and there are many. I’m not going to remark right now about other markets but it’s safe to say that the large majority of Europe is prime.”
When asked when Google would be looking at rolling Android Pay out in Europe, Spinnell replied “the answer is soon”.
What is Android Pay?
It’s a part of Android that lets you store your credit and debit cards on your phone. If you’re one of the people who used Google Wallet – and not many did – that will sound familiar: Android Pay is essentially a rebranded and updated version of the old system. It will work with pretty much any NFC-equipped Android device running Android 4.4 or later.
How does Android Pay work?
Android Pay is an Android app that may be preinstalled on your phone. If it’s not, you can download it from Google Play. When you open it, you can add your cards; if you already have a card associated with your Google account, you can opt to add it in automatically. Then, when you’re in a store, all you need to do is unlock your phone and hold it near to a contactless payment terminal and – just like Apple Pay – you’re notified and it’s done. You can also use Android Pay with selected third-party apps.
Which banks will support it?
Most of the major UK banks support Android Pay, including Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society. Notable by their absence at present are the Royal Bank of Scotland group banks: RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank. However, Google says that “new banks [are] being added all the time”, so you can expect them to support Android Pay at some point in the future.
Which shops support Android Pay?
Any shop with a contactless payment terminal should accept Android Pay too.
Can I use Android Pay on the London Underground?
Yes. Transport for London (TfL) supports Android Pay in the same way it supports Apple Pay, so you’ll be able to tap and pay as you go across London’s network of Tube, buses and trains.
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