Android Pay has launched in the UK, causing plenty of excitement amongst people who don’t simply like to fling their money around, but like to fling it around quickly, digitally and contactless-ly. So what’s the big deal with the payment system? Here’s everything you need to know about Android Pay.
Android Pay: What Is It?
See Apple Pay, but for Android users. Not a thorough enough explanation? Fine. Android Pay is your wallet’s big new enemy. It stores your credit and debit cards on your Android-running device, letting you pay for stuff with your phone or tablet.
Android Pay: How Does It Work?
Sadly, there’s no magic involved. Instead, the service relies on NFC technology. If your device has an NFC chip, you’ll be able to pay for goods by holding your phone up to a contactless payment terminal. You don't even need to launch the Android Pay app.
To authenticate a payment, you can either use your phone’s fingerprint sensor (if it has one), or a secret passcode or pattern. Lemon squeezy.
Android Pay: Which Phones Support It?
As mentioned above, your phone or tablet needs to feature an NFC chip. No NFC, no party. Fortunately, an increasing number of Android smartphones are getting on board with the technology.
The biggest and best Android handsets on the market, apart from the OnePlus 2, have NFC on board, as do most mid-rangers. Further down the pile is where the situation becomes far less certain, though it’s easy to find out whether or not your phone has been blessed by the near-field communication gods.
However, that’s not all you need to know. Your phone also needs to be running Android 4.4 KitKat or higher in order to get an invitation to the Android Pay bash.
Android Pay: Which Banks Are On Board?
Android Pay will play nice with both MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards, and the Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society are all on board with the service.
There were some big names missing from Google's compatibility list, however, including American Express, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, though the company said it was working on getting more banks involved.
Android Pay: How To Get Started
The Android Pay app is now available in the UK (more on that below)! Once you’ve downloaded it, all you need to do is add your cards by snapping pictures of them. An in-built card-scanning tool does the rest of the work.
Android Pay: Is It Secure?
We bloody hope so. Since the app doesn't actually store your bank account details, there should be no reason to be afraid of it. Android Pay instead creates a virtual card that has access to your accounts -- your most precious details will not be shared with retailers. Furthermore, if you lose your phone, you can remotely lock or wipe it using the Android Device Manager tool.
Android Pay: Launch Date
Back in March, Google said that the service would launch in the UK “in the next few months”, and it seems Android Pay's time has come. The app is available in the Google Play Store right now -- we downloaded it this morning -- though we're still waiting on an official launch announcement from Google.