Android Pay launches for UK mobile users

Android character

Android mobile users can now link their credit and debit cards to their mobile handsets and use their phones to pay for good in shops.

The technology launched in the UK this week, although it arrived in the US last year.

It follows the launch of the similar Apple Pay – for iPhone and Apple Watch users - last year.

How do I get Android Pay?

To get Android Pay, you need a mobile with a built-in contactless payment chip known as an ‘NFC’ device. Your phone will also need to run a recent version of Android – KitKat 4.4 or above..

Android Pay does come preloaded on several devices, but if your phone doesn't have the app, you can download it via your handset from the Google Play app store.

You can then link credit and debit cards to your phone within the app.

Android Pay currently works with cards from Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society. Android says new banks are being added “all the time”.

You can also link loyalty cards, which are then automatically updated in the same transaction as your payment, and gift cards. However, this only works at selected retailers and Android has yet to confirm which ones participate.

How does Android Pay work in practice?

For in-store transactions under £30 you can tap and pay at any location that accepts contactless payments. Your phone doesn’t need to be unlocked and the Android app doesn’t need to be open, but the screen must be on. Payment confirmation will appear on screen.

For transactions over £30 in store, your phone will need to be unlocked when you tap to pay.

You can also use Android Pay to speed up some in-app purchases, such as Deliveroo and Zara. Supported apps link to Android Pay, meaning you don’t need to enter your payment details or address each time you make a purchase.

Where can I use Android Pay?

You can use Android Pay in store everywhere contactless payments are accepted, such as Boots, Starbucks and Waitrose, and to pay for the Tube, bus and train with Transport for London (TfL).

A limited number of retailers currently accept Android in-app purchases; see for a full list of these.

Are my details safe?

Some experts say Android Pay is safer than normal card payments. 

This is because Android creates a unique code for each transaction, meaning your actual name and card details are never shown in the app, stored on your phone, or shared with the retailer. Apple Pay uses similar technology.

Transaction records are stored on secure servers and encrypted with industry standard technology.

What if my phone is lost or stolen?

If your phone is lost or stolen, you can login to Android Device Manager on another handset or computer to instantly lock your mobile device and change your password. You can also use Android Device Manager to wipe your handset clean of your personal information.

Will Android Pay compromise my card protection rights?

No. Android says users will continue to receive all the security, benefits and rewards with Android Pay as you do with your credit card or debit card. It’s simply an alternative method by which to pay.

Moneywise has also checked with Mastercard and Visa, and they both confirm that your rights to use Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act and Chargeback – to contest transactions where eligible – will still apply.

What if I need to get a refund?

If you've bought something using Android Pay and you need to get a refund - if this is allowed under consumer rights rules or under the retailer's returns policy - you just have to hold the back of your phone to the contactless payment terminal if the retailer asks you for your card.  

For some returns, you might have to provide the last four digits of your virtual account number. You can find this on the card details screen in your Android Pay app.

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