Google will be bringing Android Pay, a way to pay for goods with a tap of your mobile phone, to the UK "in the next few months". The system is a rival to Apple Pay on the iPhone, and will be available to customers of most high street banks.
From its launch later in 2016, Android Pay will work with all MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards from Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society. Google says new banks will be added, but for now the glaring omissions are Barclays and Santander, which is also not yet available on Apple Pay.
With its own bPay system, Barclays is trying to go its own way with how we pay for things using our phones, or a key fob. Apple Pay launched in the UK on 14 July, 2015 but Barclays customers will not be able to use it with their bank cards until 27 March. Speaking to TechWeekEurope, Barclays said: "At this stage we are not planning on participating in Android Pay in the UK." American Express is also missing for now.
Much like Apple Pay, Android Pay will work with the existing contactless payment system. Once users have added their bank cards to the app, they simply need to tap the phone or a shop card machine to pay up to £30.
Google names Boots, Costa Coffee, Waitrose and Transport for London as notable examples, along with Aldi, BP, Greggs, KFC, Pret and Starbucks. In reality, we expect Android Pay to work pretty much anywhere. The service is already available in million of locations in the US, where Google says 1.5 million new customers use Android Pay each month.
Android Pay also works within apps, like Apple Pay. Once your card details have been added to the phone, you can speed through the virtual checkouts of a number of apps, such as Deliveroo, Hotel Tonight, YPlan and Zara.