Google’s Android Pay is finally headed to the UK after months of being available in the United States.
However, don’t get too excited as the company has not mentioned a specific date, giving it a “next few months” launch date.
Using Android Pay services requires a device running on at least Android 4.4 KitKat. The device must also be fit with an NFC chip that facilitates the tap-and-pay system.
At the moment, it is not clear who will partner Google in availing this service in the country, but several players such as HSBC, Lloyds Bank and Nationwide have already shown their interest. Google now wants to try its luck in a market that Apple Pay has been dominating for the past more than six months. Cupertino’s service made its debut in the UK back in July last year. Another player, Samsung Pay, will also be coming to the UK later this year, but just like Android Pay, there is no specific date.
Android Pay is currently used in the U.S. only
Android Pay was launched last year during the Google I/O 2015 and at the moment, its services are only available in the U.S. Now that it is headed to the UK, it seems Google is happy at how the service is doing in the home country. This market will probably be the third after the company had indicated earlier that the service will be in Australia by the end of June.
With Android Pay, you will no longer need your credit or debit card with you. Instead, get the details of these cards to this application and it will take it from there. Whenever you want to make a payment, the Android Pay app will communicate with your bank and in so doing, funds will be transferred to the required player after you authorize using a passcode or fingerprint. This application is more secure than using a credit card or carrying around a wallet full of cash.
Google says that it already has deals in place with MasterCard and Visa to allow this service to be incorporated with their cards. There are a number of UK institutions that are also part of this Android Pay deal, among them First Direct, Bank of Scotland and the aforementioned Nationwide, Lloyds Bank and HSBC, among others. Google has promised that this list of financial institutions will grow even bigger as the service takes shape in the country.
The main competition that Android Pay still faces is Samsung Pay. This is because the latter works with both chip-and-pin systems as well as strip-based terminals whereas the former only works with chip-and-pin systems. However, this might not apply in the UK since tap-and-pay systems have been in the country for quite some time now.
The mobile payment industry is even set to get bigger as more and more players come into play, including Huawei Pay and LG Pay, just to name but a few.