Android Pay launches in the UK
Google’s Android Pay has launched in the UK, enabling millions of Brits to make contactless instore and in-app payments with their handsets.
Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society are onboard for the launch, offering their customers the option to link MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards.
Once they have downloaded the app and added their cards, users can make tap and pay payments at 460,000 contactless terminals across the country, including Transport for London tube, bus and train travel. The system can also be used to buy goods in third-party apps, saving users from re-keying payments details in multiple apps.
Android smartphones claim a 54% market share in the UK, giving the network significant scale as it bids to take on Apple Pay, which arrived in the country last summer. To encourage takeup, an ‘Android Pay Day’ will bring special offers each month from the likes of Starbucks and Deliveroo.
Google says that more banks are also lined up to support the technology in the near future, although Barclays last week confirmed that it plans to go it alone with an inhouse contactless payments service for Android handsets.
Jimmy McLoughlin, digital economy lead at the Institute of Directors, says: “Consumers are enthusiastically adopting new methods of payment, changing the way we shop and creating opportunities for innovative companies. We are already the contactless capital of the world, and Android pay gives customers another option for quick and convenient payment.”
First launched in the USA in September, by March Android Pay was picking up 1.5 million new registrations each month. Next up, it will arrive in Singapore and Australia, with more countries to follow in the coming months.
Visa took the opportunity of the launch party to roll out the latest version of its Digital Enablement Programme (VEDEP), with Google and other UK banks as partners.
VEDEP gives banks and technology companies a turn-key framework that incorporates Visa’s secure token technology, launched last year.
The updated framework will be introduced in other European countries over the course of the year, says Visa.
MasterCard also recently announced that Google will participate in its Digital Enablement Express programme, providing a streamlined onboarding process for MasterCard issuers worldwide as Android Pay becomes available in different markets.