Android Pay in the UK: What’s the deal?
It only arrived in May, but already thirteen UK banks have jumped on the Android Pay bandwagon, allowing customers with Android phones to place secure payments up to £30 using their mobile phones, at participating retailers.
Which banks and cards are compatible with Android Pay?
If you bank with any of these guys and have a (relatively recent) Android device, you could enjoy the time-saving features of paying with Google’s contactless payment service.
• Bank of Scotland
• first direct
• M&S Bank
• Royal Bank of Scotland
• Ulster Bank
A full list of supported cards and participating banks has been provided by Google here.
Android Pay launched in May this year after a world of speculation that it would launch in March. Android users were kept in the dark until The Telegraph reported that Pret was advertising that it was now accepting it. Google responded by announcing it would roll out to all UK users the next day.
What do I need in order to use Android Pay?
To enjoy the quick and easy contactless payments from Google, your phone needs to be on Android 4.4 KitKat or above, and include NFC technology. Check for NFC in Settings > Wireless and networks, or search for it in the Settings app.
You can get started by downloading the app from Google Play.
Once you have the app, you can make payments while you are in other apps, and don’t need to open the wallet – and you can also keep track of payments within the app.
Android Pay should work anywhere they already take contactless payments, and also within popular apps like Deliveroo and Yplan.
The UK is seen as a key battleground for mobile payments because of the high take-up of card payments and high availability of contactless terminals.
Is it secure?
Any payments above £30 will require a pattern/PIN/fingerprint; payments below £30 simply require you to wave your phone over the terminal in the same way as you would a contactless card.
The use of tokenisation – that is, linking your card with a token, rather than sharing card details with the merchants – adds a layer of protection to the technology.
Well, it might be a good time to get on board. Mastercard is promoting Android Pay via a partnership with TFL and Caffe Nero, where users can get free travel and a free coffee when they use TFL services on Mondays in October, including today.
They also launched Android Pay Day in June 2016 to encourage uptake: users can get two-for-one on frappucinos in Starbucks along with a £5 voucher that can be redeemed in the Deliveroo app.
Android is also seemingly trialling a feature called Hands Free, which allows users to pay without taking their phone out of their pocket. This could represent the next level in seamless payment journeys, although it’s only in the very early stages at the moment, with trials being conducted in selected areas of San Francisco.