Android Pay set for UK this March

If you've been wondering when Android Pay will land in Britain's shores, the end of next month will be it, so says the Daily Telegraph.

Powered by a Visa partnership, Android Pay will roll in with goody bags full of gift cards, loyalty cards and special offers in a region where Apple is already a major player.

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Launched in the United States back in September, Android Pay was compatible with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards apart from a number of banks. In the UK, it is expected to launch with a large number of credit cards and banks supporting it given the huge number of Android phones being sold around the country every day.

However, unhappily for Google, Apple Pay has seen quite a few takers so far in the UK and has powered in excess of three million journeys on the London Transportation system during the second half of 2015.

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On a daily basis, over 35,000 such journeys are made on the system which includes trains, the Underground and buses. Smartphone-based journeys also constituted 3.5 per cent of all contactless journeys and 1 per cent of all pay-as-you-go journeys since Apple Pay was launched.

Apple Pay launched in UK last year and was immediately partnered by banks like HSBC, Nationwide, American Express, First Direct, NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank as well as street retailers like Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Waitrose, Nando's, Subway and KFC. To make matters worse, Apple has also launched an Android app for Apple Pay, thus making it difficult for newcomers like Android Pay and Samsung Pay to gain ground quickly.

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However, there's no doubt that Android Pay will work in hundreds of thousands of NFC terminals across the UK and will work with numerous banks, retailers, mobile carriers and payment networks to let you shop with ease. The partnership with Visa in the middle of last year should also help push things forward.

Thanks to the partnership, Visa cardholders in the UK will be able to make contactless in-store payments directly from their Android phones without having to swipe their cards every time they make a purchase. This will be made possible through an integration of Android Pay’s secure APIs with Google’s existing Host Card Emulation (HCE) functionality.

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"Following hard on the heels of Apple Pay's British launch last year, Android Pay's decision to launch a payment system is further evidence of how changes in payments is being driven by three key factors – the availability of new, technological driven payment platforms; increased consumer comfort in using non-traditional payment options; and a continued shift to internet shopping," said Anthony Duffy, director of retail banking in UK & Ireland at Fujitsu.

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