How Android pay works and where it’s supported

  • Android Pay is the new Google Wallet
  • It is Google’s second attempt at a mobile wallet service
  • Android Pay launched in the US in September 2015
  • Coming to the UK by summer 2016

Android Pay launched on 11 September 2015 in the US and has been growing in supported banks State-side since launch. While the US got the good first, other territories have yet to get Android Pay. It’s been promised, but there’s been little movement so far.

That’s set to change, however, and Google has just begun its conversation about Android Pay in the UK. Here’s everything you need to know about Android Pay.

Android Pay UK launch confirmed, but Barclays isn't on the list

Android Pay is a mobile wallet that can store your credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, etc. If that sounds a lot like Google Wallet, it’s because Android Pay is the new Google Wallet (only it’s supposed to be better, more convenient, and secure).


  1. Look for the Android Pay app on your phone. It is preloaded on several devices, but you can also simply download it from Google Play. It’s only available in countries that support Android Pay, however.
  2. Add a credit or debit card within the app. If you already have a card in your Google account, you can add it to Android Pay by confirming a few details. If you’re adding a new card from any participating bank, simple snap a picture via the app.
  3. That’s it. Simply unlock your phone and tap to use Android Pay at any contactless payment terminal.

When Google first unveiled Android Pay, it said you would be able to pay for goods by simply unlocking your Android phone like you normally do (which also enables Android Pay to authenticate your transaction), then placing it near a merchant’s contactless terminal, and that’s it.

You don’t even need to open an app to process a payment. It just lets you tap and go, and then you receive the confirmation/transaction details on your phone. Also, when you pay at select retailers, your loyalty points and offers will be auto-applied at checkout.

But let’s not forget Google is an advertising company that’s also in the business of making partnerships with other companies. So, you might also get special offers piped to your phone.

Android also offers a “Buy with Android Pay” button in apps, meaning you’ll be able to tap a button and swiftly checkout, rather than having to enter your credit card and shipping address each time you make a purchase.

Apps like Chipotle, Domino’s, Dunkin Donuts, Etsy, Groupon, GrubHub, JackThreats, Lyft, and OpenTable support Android Pay in the US.

In the UK, Google has confirmed that apps like Fancy, Deliveroo, Kickstarter, JD Sports, Zara and more will support in-app payment. Again, this makes things simple to pay and we should see this list of apps expanding over time.


Android Pay works with all NFC-enabled Android devices running KitKat 4.4+. It currently supports any mobile carrier and tap-and-pay location across the US.

In the UK, Android Pay will be coming in summer 2016.

No, because not all Android devices have a fingerprint scanner. Android Pay also accepts a PIN code, password, or pattern in order to authenticate a transaction.

Android Pay works with your credit and debit cards from the following US financial institutions:

  • American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. These cards are issued by the following US banks and credit unions: American Express, Bank of America, Discover, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions Bank, USAA, US Bank, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Capital One.

Android Pay works with your credit and debit cards from the following UK financial institutions:

  • Visa and MasterCard cards are supported. These financial institutions will support Android Pay in the UK at launch: Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society.

Google has confirmed it is always working with new partners to expand the range of supported banks.

Simply put: you can use Android Pay anywhere you can use Apple Pay (or any place with a contactless terminal). Google said it works across 1 million US locations, including everywhere tap-and-pay payments are accepted, such as:


Google’s Android Pay website has a list of stores – and it includes Best Buy, Game Stop, McDonald’s Petco, etc.

In the UK it’s a similar story. With a well-established contactless payment system, Android Pay will be widely supported at most locations.

Theoretically, yes.

Google said it was working with leading payment networks and financial institutions in the US to deliver industry-standard security tokenisation. With tokenisation, the retailer receives a newly-generated, 16-digit virtual number instead of your actual account number. So, should there be another major credit card data breach at a retailer, you’ll at least know your card is safe.

Android Pay’s tokenisation is different from Apple Pay’s in that tokens aren’t generated in a secure chip within the phone but rather within the cloud. But if you’re ever in a place without internet, Android Pay will apparently still be able to access some tokens that are stored on your device, thus allowing you to pay for your goods and be on your merry way. Simples.

Android Pay is already available in the US. You can download it from Google Play. It will also come preinstalled on new NFC-enabled Android phones from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.

Google has confirmed that it’s preparing for the launch in the UK saying on 23 March that it will be available “in the next few months”. That takes us into summer 2016, although a firm date hasn’t been given.

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