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Android Pay UK launch announced by Google

Google is entering the UK mobile phone payments market, with Android Pay expected to be available in months

Google will make its Android Pay app available in the UK in the next few months, adding its own contribution to an increasingly congested mobile payments space.

Android Pay allows users to pay for goods and services by using their mobile phones instead of credit or debit cards. It is an alternative to Apple Pay, which launched in the UK in July last year, and Samsung Pay, which will be available in the UK later this year.

These payment apps have proved popular. Apple said more than one million credit cards were registered with Apple Pay in the US in the first three days of its availability; in the first month of its availability, Apple Pay was already responsible for 1% of digital payments in the US. 

Samsung has had similar success. Around five million people signed up to Samsung Pay and spent around $500m using it in the six months following its launch in the US and South Korea.

“Soon, people will be able to use their Android device to pay at the hundreds of thousands of contactless payment terminals in the UK,” said Pali Bhat, senior director product management at Google. 

Financial services companies in the UK are already announcing their support for the app. Nationwide Building Society said its customers will be able to use eligible Nationwide debit cards with Android Pay at about 460,000 payment terminals across the country. HSBC, Lloyds, MBNA and M&S Bank will also offer Android Pay support.

Read more about mobile phone payment systems

  • Google is expected to launch its Android Pay payments application programming interface at its I/O conference in May.
  • In the US, the Apple Pay mobile wallet was responsible for 1% of digital payments in the US in November 2014, just a month after its launch.
  • Samsung has agreed to pay $548m in damages to Apple to settle a long-running dispute over copyright infringements, but with strings attached.

Tony Prestedge, the Nationwide COO, said choice is important in mobile payments. He added that every month there are 19 million logins to Nationwide’s mobile banking app, and more than 7 million contactless payments totalling £56m made. “With Android Pay, Nationwide customers will have even greater choice in the way they purchase goods and services, highlighting the society’s commitment to finding innovative ways to help members manage their money at a time, in a place and in a way which suits them.”

Mobile phone payments may become the main way to pay for things in the UK, with one-third (33%) of Brits believing more payments will be made using smartphones than by credit or debit cards by 2020, according to the Banking Moving Forward study released in 2015 by Experian.

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