Android Pay, Google’s new mobile payments system announced at the Google I/O 2015 developer conference, will be making its way to smartphones later this year as part of Android Marshmallow.
Despite a leaked message (via Android Police) claiming the service, which offers a way for users to pay for goods online and in store using their mobile device, would go live in the US on the 26th August, it is yet to make an appearance. Therefore, expectations have once again turned to a release alongside the new Android Marshmallow mobile OS, which is expected to start rolling out to consumers in October or November.
How do I use it?
For in-the-flesh purchases, Android Pay uses NFC technology, allowing users to simply unlock their phone and hold it next to a special reader, much like a contactless credit or debit card. At selected merchants loyalty points and offers are automatically applied at the checkout. For in-app or online purchases, users will be presented with a “Buy with [Android] Pay” option, which they can make use of with a single tap.
Is Android Pay the same as Apple Pay?
In a word, yes. Both use NFC technology in real-world scenarios and both offer one-tap online payments. Fundamentally, the only real difference is the operating system it is running on – if you have an iOS device, you will have to use Apple Pay and if you have an Android device you will have to use Android Pay (or Samsung Pay, if you have a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge).
Apple Pay does have one feature that Android Pay does not, however: it works on smartwatches (specifically Apple Watch), whereas Android Pay so far only appears to work on Android proper and not Android Wear.
Is Android Pay the same as Samsung Pay?
Not really, no. Samsung Pay only works with the newest Samsung devices and also does not use NFC. Instead, it uses proprietary “Magnetic Secure Transmission” technology, which means it is compatible with card machines that only have a magnetic strip reader. Samsung Pay also only works in-store, not online.
Is Android Pay available in the UK?
Android Pay is not officially available anywhere currently, although Google claims it “will soon be accepted in over 700,000 store locations … across the US”. The official roll-out is expected to commence in October or November.