Ready your NFC-enabled Android phone - Android Pay has finally arrived
It’s taken its sweet time getting here, but Android Pay has finally launched in the UK. Much like Apple Pay and Samsung’s upcoming Samsung Pay mobile payments systems, Android Pay uses your phone’s fingerprint sensor to authorise payments at contactless card readers and for in-app purchases.
You don’t necessarily need a phone with a fingerprint reader in order to use Android Pay, though, as those without sensors can set up a passcode on their phone instead. Still, the main idea is to use touch authorisation, as the time you spend tapping out a passcode probably isn’t much faster than getting out your actual debit card.
It works by creating a digital copy of your credit or debit card and its respective PIN number. It doesn’t send actual card details when you make a payment, but uses a virtual account number instead. This way, your card details can’t be cloned or stolen, and you can lock your device if it ends up getting lost or stolen.
Android Pay works on any NFC-enabled Android smartphone that’s using Android 4.4 KitKat or above. That includes all of this year’s flagships, such as the HTC 10, LG G5, Sony Xperia Z5, Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, as well as cheaper mid-range smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy J5 and Nexus 5X.
Next, you’ll need to have a bank or card issuer that supports the service. At the moment, MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards support Android Pay, as well as Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society, but Google says it will be adding new banks in the coming weeks.
How to pay
Setting up Android Pay is easy. Just download the app from Google Play and add a compatible debit or credit card. Then, when you’re ready to make a payment, simply unlock your phone and tap it on the contactless card reader. You don’t even need to open the app.
Which shops support Android Pay?
You can use Android Pay in any shop that has a contactless card reader, but big names include Aldi, Boots, BP, Costa, Greggs, KFC, Pret, Starbucks, Superdrug, TFL and Waitrose among others.
Payments are limited to £30, but you can also use it for in-app purchases on apps like Deliveroo, Fancy, Hotel Tonight, JD Sports, Kickstater, Takeaway.com, YPlan and Zara.