Mobile Payments

Android Pay Launches For UK's MBNA Cardholders

MBNA cardholders in the U.K. can now use Google's Android Pay as the company's app just went live in the country.

As part of Android Pay's official rollout across the U.K., Android mobile users can use Android Pay to pay via their mobile devices at roughly 460,000 contactless payment points in the U.K., along with in-app purchases that support Android apps.

“Our customers have been avid early adopters of contactless payment technology, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of Android Pay’s U.K. launch. Customers can add their MBNA-issued credit cards to Android Pay from today to make convenient contactless payments in stores, as well as online payments in apps," said MBNA Head of Innovation Gary Watts.

In pitching why MBNA is supporting Android Pay in the U.K., its security features were touted, which includes the unique payment token number that is used when paying with Android Pay.

Google Senior Director of Product Management Pali Bhat said: “We're excited to bring the simplicity and security of mobile payments to MBNA customers with Android Pay."

To help promote its mobile payments service, Google also recently launched Android Pay Day at the end of each month to bring special promotions for Android Pay users. Starbucks U.K. and Deliveroo were the first merchants to offer rewards.

For those wanting to use Android Pay in the U.K., it can be done by downloading the Android Pay app on Google Play. 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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