Android Pay, Google's rival to Apple Pay, has finally arrived in the UK, allowing anyone with the right phone, and the right bank, to pay via their handset at contactless terminals.
The banks supporting Android Pay are Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Marks & Spencer, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society, with notable absentees Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest and TSB.
Pali Bhat, senior director of product management at Google, touted the fact that all existing contactless terminals will work with Android Pay immediately.
"You will be able to use Android Pay everywhere contactless payments are accepted, including your favourite high street stores like Boots, Starbucks and Waitrose, and pay for the Tube, bus and train with Transport for London. Just tap with your phone as you would with your card," he said.
"And businesses across the country with contactless terminals won’t need to do anything else to be able to accept Android Pay in store."
One firm that will welcome the arrival of Android Pay is Pret a Manger, as 65 per cent of all card transactions at the chain are made using contactless technology.
Bhat also highlighted the security aspects of Android Pay, as the idea of adding bank card information directly into your phone could put some people off.
"Security is at the centre of Android Pay. With industry standard tokenisation, Android Pay doesn’t send merchants your real card number when you purchase," he said.
"Android Pay also makes it convenient to keep track of payments and to lock your device if it becomes lost or stolen."
Bhat explained that more banks will soon start supporting Android Pay, although one bank that may take a while to get on board is Barclays. The company recently unveiled its own Android NFC payment service via an app which is set to launch next month.
Barclays was also a notable hold out against Apple Pay before finally relenting, and may find itself in a similar position with Android Pay, particularly as Google has pushed out its service before the bank.
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