Android Pay: how to use it in five easy steps

Google has made Android Pay live today after giving Apple's rival payment system a free run for an entire year. Android Pay is going live with Visa and MasterCard support and can be used in over 400,000 payment terminals across the UK.

If you aren't aware of how Android Pay works, where it will work and how to set it up, here are five easy steps on how to use Google's latest contactless payment system to get rid of your bulky wallets.

How does it work?

Android Pay, like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, offers a technology using which you can make in-store payments from your Android phone without having to swipe your credit card every time you make a purchase. It works through an integration between Android Pay’s secure APIs and Google’s existing Host Card Emulation (HCE) functionality. When you set up Android Pay on your phone, Visa or MasterCard will generate a digital token which will be used to make payments in stores. Not only will the token protect your bank account or credit card details, it will also include all the benefits and guarantees of a transaction with a physical card.

Who all can access Android Pay?

Android Pay will be available to everyone using Android phones running Android 4.4 KitKat or later versions of the operating system. Users of iOS, Windows or BlackBerry 10 devices will not be able to use Android pay as of now. However, your Android phone should also have NFC and HCE capabilities to be able to run Android Pay.

How to set up Android Pay?

To set it up, you will need to download Android Pay from the Google Play Store. If you have already added a card in your Google account to purchase apps from the Play Store, it will be easy to add the same account on Android Pay. But if you don't, you can simply add new card details on the app, given that the bank which has issued the card supports Android Pay. Thanks to Google's partnership with MasterCard, Android Pay is supported by banks like  Bank of Scotland, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, MBNA and M&S Bank. Through an existing partnership with Visa, many other banks will also support Android Pay and it may rival Apple Pay soon enough in terms of reach.

How to use it?

Using Android Pay will be as simple as using Apple Pay, that is, by simply tapping your smartphone on any contactless payment point. You will also be able to use it to  make purchases in supported Android apps.

You can be among the first to the party with an MBNA card, and getting started is very straightforward: you simply need to download the Android Pay app from the Google Play Store and sign up for Android Pay through the app. You can then add your preferred MBNA MasterCard® or Visa credit card by using the camera in the app to capture card information, or by entering card details manually, and you are ready to tap and go,” said Gary Watts, Head of Innovation at MBNA.

Where can you use it?

Given that Android Pay is supported by all major banks in the UK, you can use any of your cards, whether Visa or MasterCard, at over 460,000 contactless payment terminals in the UK. A list of retail stores which can accept payments through Android Pay can be found here.

"We're excited to bring the simplicity and security of mobile payments to MasterCard customers with Android Pay. Starting today, people will be able to use their Android device to pay at almost 460,000 contactless payment terminals in the UK." Pali Bhat, Senior Director, Product Management, Google.

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