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Google’s Android Pay Expected To Enter The UK Soon

android payGoogle has confirmed that it is rolling out its digital wallet service Android Pay to the United Kingdom (UK) very soon but did not confirm on a possible date.

This new service allows users to use their mobile phones to pay for transactions at retailers and will replace debit and credit cards.

In a statement, Pali Bhat, Google’s senior director of product management said

In the next few months Android smartphones will become even more useful with the launch of Android Pay. We’re bringing together payment networks, banks and retailers to help you pay simply and securely. Android Pay will support MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards from many of the UK’s major financial institutions

Eight of UK’s biggest financial institutions have confirmed their participation. The eight firms are HSBC, Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, First Direct, Marks & Spencer, MBNA, Nationwide Building Society and Halifax. However key banks like NatWest, the Royal Bank of Scotland and TSB are missing from the list but are expected to soon follow suit as Google continues to expand its list of partners.

All major payment networks such as Visa, MasterCard, Global Payments and Worldpay have agreed to join the service. Additionally, many websites like Zara, Kickstarter, Deliveroo have also signed up for the new service.

Android Pay is currently available only in the U.S, where Google is reporting a steady growth of 1.5 million registrations per month since its launch in September. Apple Pay has been available in both the U.S and the UK for some time now but is yet to gain a huge following.

A digital wallet helps customers to pay in retail stores by tapping their phones on a contactless terminal replacing the need to use cards. This form of payment is supposed to be safer than using cards as there is no disclosure of account numbers and is also safe from unauthorized interception of transmitted information as the information cannot be re-used.

Tony Prestedge, chief operating officer of Nationwide, one of the participating banks has said that currently there are around 19 million log-ins recorded in the bank’s mobile banking app and that over seven million contactless payments totaling £56 million are being made by the bank’s customers. According to him, offering Android Pay will go a long way towards providing greater choice to the bank’s customers in determining how they buy goods and services.

Other companies such as Huawei and LG are also said to be developing digital wallets for Android devices.

Dave Birch, a payments specialist at Consult Hyperion, has however said that most people in UK already own contactless cards which make purchases easy in retail stores. He has suggested that companies can focus on developing solutions that make it easier to buy online, as online transactions currently require inputting numbers physically from cards.

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