Android Pay launched in the UK

Google has launched Android Pay, it's smartphone-based payment system, to customers in the UK, the media have reported on Wednesday morning.

The Apple Pay competitor allows any user with an NFC-enabled, Android-powered smartphone to make purchases by simply tapping their phone. According to The Independent, this is the first market, outside the US, where Google has launched this product.

In order to start using Android Pay, here's what you need:

  • A smartphone with Android 4.4 or above, with NFC support (if you don't know, read this)
  • The Android Pay Application (you can get it here)
  • An eligible credit or debit card from one of the supported banks (Android Pay supports both MasterCard and Visa, from Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society. More banks incoming)

That’s it. Now you can pay for things by simply moving your phone towards the payment terminal and tapping the screen. Companies require no additional hardware.

Users can purchase goods of up to £30 without any additional identification. For purchases above this threshold, an additional method of security (a PIN or fingerprint) is required.

Google has announced Android Pay for the UK market a few hours before the start of its I/O event, where its new technology will be showcased. Apart from the UK, Android Pay is set to be made available in other markets, as well, including Singapore and Australia.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, commented: "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.

"And Android Pay's low barrier to entry – most smartphones are NFC-enabled these days – means it'll have a more wide-reaching impact on how Brits pay for goods than Apple Pay has had alone.