While Android Pay has been alive in the US for some time now, Google is yet to launch its mobile payments system across the pond in the UK. Back in March they stated that the service would go live ‘within months’, but it appears Barclays has beaten them to market. Having already announced that it won’t be supporting Android Pay, the popular bank today announced a new Android-based mobile payment service which will go live next month.
Barclays customers will be able to use their Android smartphone to “wave and pay” in stores and restaurants with contactless terminals, as well as across the London transport network. Essentially, it’ll work in exactly the same way a contactless bank card does, when it goes live in June. You just tap your phone against a terminal, and you’ve paid. All customers need is to have the Barclays mobile banking app installed and active on their phone. An app which 5 million UK customers are already using.
There are a couple of things worth noting here. Firstly, Barclays says the service will only support the latest NFC-equipped smartphones. Typically, that’s phones that are less than six months old. Secondly, contactless payments up to £30 will be possible without having to unlock the phone or launch the app. Payments between £30 and £100 will be possible, but need to be authorized by typing the card’s PIN in to the phone’s keypad. Customers select a default card within the Mobile Banking app, but will be able to switch to another before authorizing payment if they need to.
“Giving customers the choice about how to make everyday payments while making it really easy for people to use our services is why we’ve designed this contactless payment functionality. It’s all there in one place, ready to go with no need to enter card details, delivering a brilliant experience in an instant.”
It’s no surprise to see that Barclays is pushing forward with its own mobile payment system instead of Android Pay. It has been one of the earliest pioneers of contactless payments in the UK, and even dragged its heels on supporting Apple Pay.