While there’s no official launch date, Android Pay officially announced its U.K. launch plans today (March 23), reporting that “in the next few months Android smartphones will become even more useful with the launch of Android Pay.”
With the launch a few months out, Android Pay is already getting the support from a few of its big backers in the U.S, including MasterCard, Visa and Global Payments. It’s also getting support from Judo Payments, a London-based app commerce payments platform to enable in-app payments.
But Android Pay won’t be getting support from one big bank: Barclays.
“At this stage we are not planning on participating in Android Pay in the UK,” a Barclays spokesperson told Techradar.
Barclays said its focusing its mobile payments efforts into focus on its Barclaycard Android app that launched into the U.K. market in January, which also enables NFC contactless mobile payments. But that doesn’t mean Barclays won’t eventually support Apple Pay; the bank has come out and said they will, but hasn’t officially said when that will be.
Android Pay rolled out in September 2015 in the U.S. and has been picking up steam with payments networks and issuers since, with Apple Pay paving the way through its launch the year prior.
But the biggest push to give Android Pay a boost in the U.K.? The ability to use Android Pay anywhere where contactless payments are accepted. With the U.K. being the driving force behind contactless payments — far ahead of the U.S. — that’s a big deal for Android Pay and the other mobile payments options.
And when it officially goes live on the other side of the pond, Android Pay will support MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards issued by Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society. More banks are expected to be added within the next few weeks.
“The strength of our technology means that consumers can enjoy both security as well as simplicity. MasterCard cardholders can feel confident about using their digital MasterCard cards for everyday purchases,” said Mark Barnett, President of MasterCard U.K. and Ireland.
Outside of getting the card network support, getting payments platforms that support in-app payments is an important component for scaling Android Pay. As shown in the U.S., a major use case to draw in consumers has been the ability to pay using one-click in-app payment options that reduce time at checkout and eliminate the payment friction.
“Integrating Android Pay with judo will make it easier for businesses of all sizes to streamline their checkout experience, by offering their customers a simpler, faster in-app payment experience,” Spencer Spinnell, Director of Business Development at Google said in a news release.
“Android Pay’s launch in the U.K. brings quick, seamless and secure mobile payments to millions. We’re looking forward to working with Google to empower businesses to reduce payments friction. This is a significant step in the move to mobile and 2016 is set to be a big year for mobile payments,” judo CEO Dennis Jones noted.
In its release of the news, judo also relayed one key stat that may play into scaling Android Pay: the fact that mobile accounts for a third of retail eCommerce in the U.K.
Android Pay, being NFC-based, will have a similar acceptance path as its iOS rival, Apple Pay — a story it is used to here in the U.S. — meaning Android will now be in Boots, Costa Coffee and Waitrose, as well as on London public transportation. It will also be showing up as an app-based payment method, being sported by Deliveroo and YPlan, among others.
According to recent estimates, 42.6 percent of U.K. citizens carry an Android phone.
“Following the successful enablement in the U.S., Global Payments is pleased to extend our support for Android Pay to the U.K.,” said Frank T. Young, SVP of Global Product and Innovation for Global Payments. “We’re excited to be supporting the global expansion of Android Pay and look forward to enabling more merchants to take advantage of this payment innovation.”