Google has announced that Android Pay will be available in the UK in the next few months.

Google’s Android Pay mobile payment service has been available in the US since May, but it has yet to make its way to Europe. The Apple Pay rival allows users to buy items from physical retailers by swiping an NFC-enabled phone across a contactless point-of-sale terminal.

In addition, it can be used for purchases in third-party apps. This makes the process a lot easier for users, who won’t have to enter their payment details over and over in multiple apps.

Apple Pay has been available in the UK since last July.

Several banks, retailers already on board

An official date for the launch has not yet been announced, but Google did identify some of the bank partners who will participate. So far, HSBC, MBNA, Bank of Scotland, Halifax, M&S Bank, and First Direct are all on board, and new banks are still being added. The service will support credit and debit cards from MasterCard and Visa.

People who own Android smartphones running Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) or higher will be able to use Android Pay anywhere they would normally use a contactless bank card, such as supermarkets and restaurants. In addition, it will work on London’s underground and buses. Some of the stores that will accept the service include Starbucks, BP, Waitrose, Costa Coffee, and Boots.

Users first need to store their card details inside the app, and from then on, they’ll only need to provide a scan of their fingerprint or a passcode in order to authorize a payment. This is widely viewed as being safer than using a physical credit card because the account number does not need to be revealed at the point of purchase. Moreover, in the event that someone does manage to intercept the encrypted information as it is transmitted, they would not be able to use it again for future payments.

The service will eventually expand to the rest of Europe, but no time line has been announced. Samsung has also said that its own digital wallet service will come to the UK some time this year, but no specific details have been released yet. That service only works on Samsung Android smartphones.

A post on Android’s official blog says that Android Pay has been experiencing healthy growth in the US, noting 1.5 million new registrations per month. The UK could be a massive market for Google as reports say that 54.2 percent of mobile phones sold in the UK during the first quarter of last year were Android-based. In addition, British shoppers made almost 1 billion contactless transactions in stores and places like the Underground last year.

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.