Android Pay comes to the UK

The UK has officially become the second country to support Android’s smartphone contactless payment system Android Pay, almost a year after the UK launch of Apple Pay.

Android Pay was launched in the US last year, with Google having previously made a number of attempts to crack the mobile wallet concept with little success. The launch of Apple Pay the previous year did a great job of seeding the market and, with the greater challenge of supporting multiple smartphone vendors, Google’s earlier efforts probably helped keep the lag to a minimum.

While not all UK banks currently support Android Pay, we’re told you can use Android Pay anywhere contactless payments are accepted so your intrepid correspondent decided to put this claim to the test. Initial setup was relatively easy, although it did ultimately involve a call first to an automated bank service and ultimately to a call centre operative, who pressed a couple of distant buttons before announcing it was good to go.

Pausing only to mull lunchtime options your correspondent set off to Eat, where its superb Hungarian Goulash was one of the soups of the day. The payment terminal didn’t specifically invite the use of Android Pay, appearing conversely keen to receive funds from Apple Pay, but since an HTC One M8 was the only smartphone to hand that was the device prodded at the terminal. The first effort was declined, perhaps out of shock, but a second attempt resulted in a successful payment and even an electronic receipt sent to the phone.

Much of the comment around the launch, which had been expected for months, concerned security, with Android’s relatively open platform compared unfavourably to Apple’s. On witnessing your correspondent’s call centre adventuires, iPhone wielding colleagues commented the process was much simpler for Apple Pay, so maybe banks have insisted Android Pay jumps through more hoops to ensure security.

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