The latter’s Apple Pay service has had it all its own way on these shores since it arrived last June, but with Google’s offering now live, it means virtually every smartphone owner in this country can pay for anything from coffee to clothes using their handset.
So, how does Android Pay work? And will your device play nice with it? Read on and we’ll answer all your questions.
When’s Android Pay available?
Right now. You can download the app from Google Play: it’s free and the set up process is nice and straightforward.
Just enter your credit or debit card details and you’re good to go.
Which banks support Android Pay?
The good news is that both Visa and MasterCard both support Android Pay, so most banks can easily offer their services via your Android handset.
Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide customers can all use Android Pay right away. Google says new partners will be added ‘all the time’.
Barclays customers are once again set to be disappointed.
There’s no sign of them joining the party, a bitter blow after it took them ten months to offer Apple Pay.
Will my phone work with Android Pay?
Google has madde sure that the barrier to entry is set nice and low with Android Pay.
That means that if you have a phone running Android KitKat 4.4 or higher, you can use the mobile wallet service.
If you bought a phone in the past two years, chances are it will support Android Pay.
If you’re unsure what version of Android you have, head into your Settings app and you’ll find all the information right there.
Do I need to open the app every time I make a payment?
No. You just need to have your screen on (the device can be locked) and you’ll see the option to pay when you place your phone near a contactless payment reader.
It works just like a contactless card. Once you’ve paid, you’ll get a notification to say how much you’ve spent.
How is Google keeping my details secure?
Google is using the same tokenisation tech as Apple. That means your card details are never transmitted when you make a payment.
Instead your phone creates a unique number for every purchase. Your card details are also encrypted.
If you lose your phone, you can use Android Device Manager to change your pass code and even delete your data if you’re worried it’s been breached.
But Apple Pay uses Touch ID, what about Google?
Fingerprint security is only available to those using the latest Android Marshmallow software.
That means Android Pay doesn’t enjoy the same level if security as Apple Pay, although you can enter a passcode before you make a payment.
However, contactless cards do not have this security level and are proving enduringly popular.
What other incentives are there to use it?
Google is launching Android Pay Day, giving perks and discounts on the last week of every month.
The offer starts in June, with Starbucks and Deliveroo both signed up. Users can also pay for goods directly online using the ‘Pay with Android Pay’ button.
This is a feature which is still not available for Apple Pay.