Android Pay
Android Pay on a HTC smartphoneGoogle

Google is set to launch Android Pay in the UK, six months after launching it in the US. The tech giant will compete with Apple Pay, which entered the UK market in June 2015.

Google will most likely roll out its contactless mobile payment service by the end of March, reported the Telegraph, citing industry sources.

It looks like Google is treading cautiously in introducing Android Pay to newer markets. It has delayed bringing the technology to Britain by almost a year in comparison to its biggest rival, Apple Pay. More than 250,000 shops in the UK support Apple's payment system, besides eight banks.

Apple Pay is already available in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and recently in China. Last week, Apple Pay forayed into the China market in partnership with China Union Pay and 19 other banks. It is expected to enter France, Hong Kong, Singapore and other markets within the year. Interestingly, another player in the digital payment space, Samsung, is entering the UK market very soon.

This would bring competition in the payments market, giving a significant boost to UK consumers who have already adopted mobile payment in a big way. According to a mobile payment report by Robert Townsend, chief marketing officer at Oxygen8, over 4 million people paid for their parking via their mobile phones in 2014.

At present, both Apple and Android use the service to accept payment against purchase of goods and transport services, with ATM transactions expected to be enabled in the near future. In the US, banks such as Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are working on near-field communication (NFC) technology to enable mobile payment support at their ATMs.