Google’s answer to Apple: Tap. Pay. UK

Yesterday, Google finally announced that they will be releasing their version of contactless mobile payments, which will be available on Android devices.

In 2016, it seems to be increasingly popular to have all of your devices, cards, passes, tickets and money in one place, hence why the introduction of ‘Android Pay’ seems like a good idea, but just how popular will it be?

Almost everybody has contactless cards in 2016, so investment in the market would seem like a good idea. Apple was the first to introduce the idea of contactless payments with mobile devices. ‘Apple Pay’ has been available on their select IOS devices in the UK since July last year. However, since its creation, only about three in ten people say they use it on a regular basis.

The main issue is getting people into the habit of paying on their phone. For years people at a till instinctively reached for their wallet. Reaching for your phone is something far different to get used to.

For people who live on a tight budget, contactless payments on both card and phone are a very unpopular choice, due to the delay for money to appear and disappear from your bank account. For people who are cautious with their finances, it can be a bit of a surprise when £30 suddenly disappears a few days later.

Although most devices require a passcode or fingerprint recognition whilst using contactless payment, a lot of people are still wary about its security, and therefore refrain from using it.

How popular will Android Pay be with big companies?

Samsung, Android’s biggest market share, already has its own system for payments on mobiles, entitled ‘Samsung Pay’ which was launched in August in South Korea and September in the US. Some people argue that Samsung Pay is better, as the technology used in Samsung phones works with a wider variety of card readers. They haven’t backed out of Android Pay, and it will still be available on Samsung devices.

In saying this, it still faces the same obstacles of Apple Pay, in that people are finding it a difficult habit to adopt.

Many big banks in the UK have got involved with Android Pay – Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, and Nationwide have all been enlisted as supporters of the new function. Barclays however, has announced that they will not be involved with the new Android payment system, as they have launched their own app for mobile payments, leaving customers of one of the UK’s biggest banks unable to use the new Android function.

The mobile world is a fast moving one and, with people becoming increasingly dependant on a primary device, maybe mobile contactless payments will become more popular. But after decades of people using cash and cards, it may be a very long time before that happens.