Android Pay, the mobile payment solution from Google, has launched in the United Kingdom.
The UK is the second country to offer Android Pay, following its initial launch in the United States in September last year.
Android Pay users
Over 60% of the UK’s smartphone users own an Android handset. Those running Android 4.4 or higher and fitted with a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip will be able to use the Android Pay mobile payments service after downloading the app to their devices.
As well as downloading the app, users need to register either a MasterCard or Visa credit from supported banks such as Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society,
Android Pay uses industry standard tokenisation, whereby users’ card details aren’t stored on the phone, nor are they used in payment transactions. Tokenisation is the process of replacing sensitive payment card data, such as the card number, customer name and security codes, with a “token” – a unique identification symbol. It is the token data that is used in the payment process, meaning that no real card details are transferred during the transaction, ensuring that card security isn’t compromised.
According to Android’s Official Blog, the UK is one of the most advanced contactless nations in the world, hence Android’s decision to launch the payments app in the country.
Contactless technology has been available in the country in different formats for some time. For example, users of London’s transportation system have been using the Oyster smart-card system for years, and is a system which was recently adapted to include the use of contactless payment cards and smartphone. Contactless payment technology is available in thousands of retail shops throughout the country, allowing users to make payments of up to £30 (US $44) using their contactless payment cards and smartphones.
Android Pay joins competitor Apple Pay in the UK’s contactless payments market, which was launched in the UK in July last year. Samsung’s version of the technology, Samsung Pay, is expected to launch in the country later this year.
What’s next for Android Pay?
Android has announced that Android Pay will be available in Singapore and Australia “soon”.
Image courtesy of Android