Android Pay is now live in thousands of retail outlets and public utilities in the United Kingdom. Launched a couple of days ago, it was pleasantly coincidental that the mobile payment system was launched on the day the Google I/O opened in California. The app itself was first launched last year in the US. At the time, it could be used only in the US. But there was a promised to extend it to other countries. Presumably, this is the first step in the global roll out of Android pay. The next frontier hopefully, will be Singapore and Australia according to Google.
This was how Android Official blog broke the news,
Starting today, Android Pay is now available in the UK, one of the most advanced contactless nations in the world. Android Pay helps people pay for things simply and securely with their Android smartphones. This builds on the launch of Android Pay in the US last year, with new countries coming soon.
In a way, the announcement was not a surprise for keen followers of tech news. Google first broke the news back in March, though no definite date was given. With the fast-paced growth of the service in the US, it only seem logical that the first country outside the US will be the UK with its robust economy. But the final definitive leak on the launch date happened inadvertently. Google mistakenly tweeted that the service is on its way on Tuesday. Completely letting the cat out of the bag. The surprise factor completely disappeared with that tweet.
One stand out feature of the service in UK is that one can make purchases of £30 and below without having to unlock the phone. Which is a good thing for those who hate going through all verification checks just to pay for something cheap like a cup of coffee.
Before one can make purchases with Android Pay, the app must be linked to your Visa or MasterCard credit/debit card. These cards in turn can only work if they are issued by banks supporting the service. The good news is that almost all major banks in the UK are partnering with Google to provide the service.
As for the Android smartphone, it must be NFC enabled to work. Also known as contactless payment, all a user needs to do to effect payment is lightly tap the payment portal with the phone. For payment under £30, it is done without having to do any verification. Just tap, and payment is effected. For people in the UK, this is a very familiar payment method. Contactless payment has being around for some time now. So Google is meeting a user base that is already knowledgeable on how to use the system.
Android Pay vs Apple Pay
It is always inevitable that anytime Android pay is mentioned, Apple Pay is right in the mix. This is because, Android Pay for Android phones was always seen as the Google’s answer to Apple Pay for iOS devices. Apple Pay started business long before Android Pay. This has the effect of putting Android Pay in the awkward position of always playing catch-up to Apple Pay. And so it is in the UK.
Apple Pay launched its services in the UK in July last year. But it won’t surprise many if Android pay ends up becoming more popular than Apple Pay. The simple reason is that verifying payments using Apple Pay requires several security steps. The process is easier using Android Pay. So most people would rather opt for a system that doesn’t take up too much time. Though, there are lots of folks for who security trumps everything else.
Google Woo Users with Android Pay Day
Google doesn’t intend to wait for users to sign up for the service, hoping that the brand ‘Google’ will do the trick of attracting users. They will actively seek to attract people to the platform. One such method is a service known as Android Pay Day. Pay Day rewards users by giving them special offers on purchases in selected stores like Starbucks and Deliveroo. The offer comes once a month, a week before pay day.
The next step for Google is rather obvious I must say. I am sure it took this long to launch in Europe because they were fixing all the technical and security glitches that might pop up. So, having settled those issues, what remains is to hasten the roll out of Android Pay to more countries especially in Africa.
photo credit: officialandroid.blogspot.com.ng