Android Pay has finally begun rolling out. The mobile payment system, revealed by Google earlier this summer, is aimed at taking on Apple Pay and seeing off the threat of Samsung’s own version, which is due to launch later this year.
It’s the latest in a series of moves by mobile-makers to try and muscle in on your wallet and make cash redundant.
Can it work? These five key factors should determine whether Android Pay can be a success.
1 Android KitKat or higher
Android Pay will work with any Android phone that has an NFC chip for contactless payments and runs KitKat 4.4 or higher.
That means that if you bought an Android phone in the last two and half years, you’ll be good to go.
That’s hugely appealing seeing as Apple Pay only works on the iPhone 6/6Plus and iPhone 6S/6S Plus.
2 Security at the forefront
Google has been keen to stress that it is putting users’ security first.
No payments will be sent with your real debit or credit card number. Instead, a tokenisation method will send a virtual account number every time you make a transaction.
This is similar to the random number generator used by the rival Apple Pay service.
There are payment confirmations every time you make a purchase so you can see if anyone has been making payments using your phone’s details.
However, with only a select number of Android phones coming with the added layer of a fingerprint scanner, all eyes will be on Google to see if it can match Apple’s secure system.
3 All major providers on board
Google appears to have waited to launch Android Pay in order to ensure it had all four major card suppliers in the US on board.
That means that Visa, MasterCard and American Express are joined by Discover. The latter also launched on Apple Pay this week.
Major banks across The Pond have also signed up, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
4 In the Google Play store now
US Android owners can download and use the Android Pay app now. Those who already have Google Wallet will see Android Pay form part of their virtual payment app.
What’s more Google says that Android Pay will be preinstalled on any new Android device released in the States.
Of course, there is a major issue for UK users. Google has only announced plans for a rollout in the US and has not said when Android Pay will be coming to the UK or any other country.
That’s an issue which it will want to address soon, especially as Apple Pay appears to be going from strength to strength in this country.