If you’re an Android smartphone user, you might have been wondering if a pay service similar to Apple Pay would be available in the UK.
Well if you have, you can stop now as Google have announced that Android Pay will be launched in the UK in the next few months.
What it does
This technology allows you to make payments in shops and online without needing to have your wallet or card on you. Instead, your smartphone acts as a kind of wallet or purse by storing your card details. When you want to pay for something, you simply hold your phone over a contactless reader and either enter your passcode or use your fingerprint scanner to authorise the payment.
In many respects, the technology is very similar to Apple Pay. So, if you have any experience paying this way – or you know someone who does – then you can probably expect the same sort of thing.
Can I use it?
So long as you’re running Android 4.4 or above and your phone has a near field communication (NFC) chip in it, you should be able to use Android Pay when it is launched in the UK. A quick Google search should help you if you’re unsure whether your phone has an NFC chip.
Whether you will be able to use Android Pay also depends on the provider of your debit or credit card. The banks listed below have all signed up to the service, but there may be more to join up at a later stage.
First Direct Halifax HSBC
Lloyds Bank M&S Bank Bank of Scotland
Nationwide MBNA Santander*
*Santander plan to be on board before the end of the year.
Both Visa and MasterCard are signed up with the service too.
If you’ve got a Samsung smartphone, fear not! We can expect their own version of this technology to open up in the UK later this year.
Is it safe?
It’s understandable if you’ve got a few concerns about safety. After all, inputting your card details onto your phone might seem a bit risky if you happen to lose your phone.
But, you probably shouldn’t worry too much. The technology has safeguards in place that protect your card details, meaning they are encrypted and can’t be accessed - even by the retailer you purchase from. And, even if you lose your phone, the Android Device Manager lets you lock your phone, replace your password and even wipe your personal details clean off if you wish – all from your computer or laptop!
Unlike many of the newer Apple smartphones, only a handful of Android smartphones offer fingerprint sensor technology. This is one of the most secure ways to pay, as you rely on your own fingerprint rather than a passcode that could be stolen. However, even if your phone doesn’t have this technology, Android Pay is still a really safe way to pay.
At the end of the day, if someone steals your wallet, or you lose it, they will likely have access to all your card details. But, if someone steals your phone, it’s unlikely they will be able to unlock it if you have a passcode or fingerprint sensor in place.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.