Mobile Payments

Live From The UK: It’s Android Pay

Android Pay has officially come to the U.K.

In a company blog post written by Pali Bhat, senior director of product management at Google, the details of its launch were revealed, with the additional news that more countries — Singapore and Australia — are expected to be launched soon.

“You will be able to use Android Pay everywhere contactless payments are accepted, including your favorite High Street stores, like Boots, Starbucks and Waitrose, and pay for the Tube, bus and train with Transport for London,” Bhat wrote. “Businesses across the country with contactless terminals won’t need to do anything else to be able to accept Android Pay in store.”

To help promote the mobile payments service, Google is also launching Android Pay Day at the end of each month to bring special promotions for Android Pay users. Starbucks U.K. and Deliveroo will be the first merchants to offer rewards. More on that promotion will be announced later in the month.

For those wanting to use Android Pay in the U.K., it can be done by downloading the Android Pay app on Google Play. The eligible cards are either a MasterCard or Visa credit or debit card from one of its supported banks — Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society. More are expected to be added.

“We will continue to add more countries, features, banks and stores in the coming months, making it even easier to pay with your Android phone around the globe,” Bhat wrote.

For Google and the other mobile payments players, the U.K. is a particularly important market because of the high contactless penetration. In fact, new data from Visa Europe shows that one in five of all physical card payments under £30 in the U.K. are now contactless payments. This rise in contactless payments usage shows a fivefold increase by shoppers.

The data from Visa shows that, in the six months since the contactless spending limit was raised from £20 to £30 in September last year, nearly 36 million transactions were made, with 95 percent of such purchases being made on Visa cards.

The biggest adoption change that really drove the growth of contactless payments, besides the Tube, was the retail industry. Among all spending categories, 30 percent of contactless transactions occur in supermarkets, which particularly benefited from the £10 rise in contactless spending limit, with £25 being the average cost of a basket in supermarkets across the U.K.


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