Google’s Android Pay contactless and mobile payment service is due to launch in the UK at the end of March, bringing a service to rival Apple Pay.
Industry sources have stated late March as the launch date, according to a report in The Telegraph, but Google has yet to confirm any details.
The reported launch follows the rollout of Android Pay in one million locations in the US in September.
Apple Pay launched in the UK in July, giving the Cupertino company a significant head start in the mobile payments market over its rival.
Android Pay works in a practically identical way to Apple Pay, enabling users to pay for purchases using a smartphone loaded with Visa or MasterCard details at an NFC-enabled contactless terminal.
The market is set to experience something of a Mexican standoff. Samsung is due to launch the Samsung Pay contactless payments service in the UK, although the company has yet to release an official launch date.
Samsung Pay is already live in Korea and the US, and offers contactless payment through NFC and Magnetic Secure Transmission, a technology gained through the acquisition of LoopPay.
This means that, unlike Apple Pay and Android Pay, Samsung Pay will work with older payment terminals without NFC functionality, potentially giving it much more reach with UK retailers.
All three services are backed by Visa and MasterCard. Visa has made efforts to boost the spread of contactless and modern electronic payments in Europe.
Apple’s successful rollout of Apple Pay is in part down to offering the market a limited selection of smartphones all running the same or very similar versions of iOS.
Google has a bigger challenge owing to the wide range of handsets running Android with multiple and customised versions of the operating system.
The relative success of Apple Pay has improved mobile payment and digital wallet adoption across the market, and will see contactless payments spending soar.
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