Update: Android Pay has now launched for more banks in the UK including NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank and Santander. Barclays has said it will not support Android Pay while TSB is set to come in the following months.
Android Pay is now available in UK allowing you to complete contactless payments from your Android phone.
The technology allows you to pay securely and easily with an Android smartphone, working in a similar way to Apple Pay.
We got the chance to test out the tech at a coffee shop in Central London as well as on the London Underground – and the tech works great.
Payments go through quickly and you can even make a payment while you’re within other apps, so there’s no need to open up a separate wallet app like you do on Apple Pay.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new contactless payment service before you get started.
Can your phone run Android Pay?
You won’t need the latest and greatest flagship device. As long as your phone is running Android 4.4 KitKat or above and includes NFC technology you’ll be able to use Android Pay.
Sadly there’s no word on Android Wear support for Android Pay yet, something Apple has managed to include on its Watch device.
Is your bank supported by Android Pay?
You’ll also need a compatible bank and if you’re with Barclays or TSB, you won’t be in luck. Supported banks at launch include Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, Santander, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society.
Where can you use Android Pay?
As long as a store accepts contactless payments you’ll be able to use your phone on the reader.
Android Pay will also work within apps including Zara, Kickstarter, Deliveroo, Yplan and many more to come. That means you can pay directly from your card, rather than having to enter your bank details within each app.
Is there a payment limit?
You’ll be able to spend on Android Pay by just waking the screen on your phone – much like using a contactless card there’s no authentication process for spending up to a £30 limit.
Android Pay allows you to make payments up to £100 as well, but anything above the £30 limit will require you to enter your pattern, PIN or fingerprint.
How is it secure?
Security wise Visa’s tokenisation gives the service another layer of protection by ensuring your bank card details are never shared with the retailer.
Instead your card will be linked with a token, created by Visa, so your details are never passed around when you tap on the contactless retailer.
It means if your phone is lost or stolen, thieves won’t be able to access your bank details and you can cancel the token connected to your account rather than cancelling your card.
Does it cost anything?
Only whatever you spend at the till – Android Pay is free to use, just like using your contactless debit card.
Why is it better than cash?
It means you don’t have to take your wallet out and about with you. You’ll only need to have your phone on you. It means if you regularly run with your phone and don’t want to take anything else with you, you can just pay for a bottle of water with your phone instead.
What if your phone is out of battery?
Simply, Android Pay won’t work if your phone is out of battery. It also means when jumping on the London Underground you’ll need to make sure you have enough battery to get to the end of your journey, as you’ll need your phone to be on to tap out the other side.
TfL previously confirmed to that there’s no plan set in place if your battery dies midway through your journey.
Speaking on the topic of Apple Pay Director of Customer Experience for TfL, Shashi Verma, said “Apple Pay requires battery – you’ve just got to make sure you can conserve your battery and make sure it doesn’t die mid-journey.”
The same goes for Android Pay, or any other type of contactless payment technology that uses a smartphone.
What’s the future for Android Pay?
Google has big plans for Android Pay. It’s currently trialling a feature called Hands Free where you can walk into a store and just say “I’d like to pay with Google” to make your transaction.
At the moment it’s only being trialled in McDonald’s and Papa John’s in the Silicon Valley area. If the trial is a success we can expect Google to roll out the feature to other stores across the US.
The wait in the UK may take a little bit longer though, we did have to wait seven months to get Android Pay after all.
Any special offers on Android Pay in the UK?
Google is also launching Android Pay Day, a service that offers exclusive codes and deals to customers who use the service. You’ll get these on the last Tuesday of every month.
The first month will kick off with an exclusive deal from Deliveroo and Starbucks to get you started.
Google gave away Chromecast devices in the US for those who used Android Pay, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed we’ll see those deals in the UK too.
You can download the Android Pay app from the Google Play Store now and begin making easy contactless payments directly from your mobile phone.