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Android Pay Will Launch In UK Without RBS, Barclays And Santander Support

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Google confirms Android Pay will launch in the UK “in next few months”, but some bank customers and American Express users will be disappointed

Google has confirmed its Android Pay mobile payment platform will arrive in the UK within the “next few months” – but without the support of three of the UK’s biggest banks at launch.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which includes Natwest, Barclays and Santander are not among the list of financial institutions whose Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards will work with Android Pay.

American Express cards will also be incompatible at launch, despite the fact they work in the US.

The list does however include Bank of Scotland, FirstDirect, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide. Google says new banks will be added “all the time”.

Bank support

Android Pay bodyBarclays lack of support is not unsurprising given it still doesn’t support Apple Pay, although it has promised this will arrive by April. However Natwest and Santander’s customers can use their cards with Android Pay’s iOS rival.

TechWeekEurope understands Natwest does plan to offer Android Pay at some stage but has other technology priorities at present.

Barclays says it has no plans to work with Android Pay and will instead work on its own platform.

“At this stage we are not planning on participating in Android Pay in the UK,” a spokesperson said. “In January this year we introduced a contactless mobile payment feature to the Barclaycard Android app that allows customers with an Android phone to make contactless payments for £30 and under, and at some retailers for up to £100.”

Santander had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Android Pay works with all NFC-enabled Android devices (running KitKat 4.4 and above) and launched in the US last year. Google claims 1.5 million users are signing up for the service each month.

Android Pay

Google says a number of retailers will offer support for Android Pay when it is available in the UK and is making APIs available to developers so British users can pay for goods using stored account details.

Perhaps the most important supporter of Android Pay is Transport for London (TfL), which has introduced many passengers to contactless and mobile payments. The average number of journeys made on London’s transport network using mobile devices has increased from 7,500 a day to more than 35,000, with more than 200,000 unique devices used to make trips in the six months leading up to February– an increase of 1,000 devices per day.

In January, the number of journeys made on tubes, buses and trains in the capital using contactless payments reached one million for the first time.

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