What is Android Pay and how does it work?

Android Pay is launching in the UK. But what does it do, how does Android Pay work, and which banks support Android Pay?

Android Pay, Google’s payment system for Android phones, is finally launching in the UK. But what is Android Pay, and what can you do with it?

What is Android Pay?

It’s a part of Android that lets you store your credit and debit cards on your phone. If you’re one of the people who used Google Wallet – and not many did – that will sound familiar, which is because Android Pay is essentially a rebranded and updated of the old system. It will work with pretty much any NFC-equipped Android device running Android 4.4 or later.

How does Android Pay work?

Android Pay is an Android app that may be preinstalled on your phone. If it’s not, you can download it from Google Play. When you open it, you can add your cards; if you already have a card associated with your Google account, you can opt to add it in automatically. Then, when you’re in a store, all you need to do is unlock your phone and hold it near to a contactless payment terminal and – just like Apple Pay – you’re notified and it’s done. You can also use Android Pay with selected third-party apps.

Which UK banks support Android Pay?

Most of the major UK banks support Android Pay, including Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society. Notable by their absence at present are the Royal Bank of Scotland group banks: RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank. However, Google says that “new banks [are] being added all the time”, so you can expect them to support Android Pay at some point in the future.

Which shops support Android Pay?

Any shop with a contactless payment terminal should accept Android Pay too.

Can I use Android Pay on the London Underground?

Yes. Transport for London (TfL) supports Android Pay in the same way it supports Apple Pay, so you’ll be able to tap and pay as you go across London’s network of Tube, buses and trains.

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