Android Pay, Google’s digital wallet platform on Android mobile devices that allows tap-to-pay purchases, has been launched in the UK.
Google first launched the platform in America last September, but UK users can now download the app and add their card to the system.
Android’s official Twitter page prematurely announced the arrival of the service last night before the Tweet was removed.
Earlier this morning they reinstated the tweet which reads: “#AndroidPay is available in the UK! Download from @GooglePlay, add your cards & tap to pay.”
This reporter was able to add their contactless Nationwide debit card for payments to an Android phone, although payments were not immediately possible. Also, bank cards that are not already pre-enabled for regular card reader-based contactless transactions will not work with the app, as is the case with alternative payment platforms, such as Apple Pay.
Users of other banks, such as Lloyds, are reportedly unable to access the service at time of writing, but a Lloyds spokesperson expected it to launch for its users later in the morning.
Google IO, the search giant’s annual software developer-focused conference, is starting the first day of its 2016 event today where an official announcement is expected to be made.
Android Pay does not share the actual card number with vendors, instead creating a virtual account number that is used so that payment information is not shared with the store.
The service is in direct competition with Apple Pay, which first launched in America on iPhones at the end of 2014 followed by a UK launch last July.
Android Pay will be initially available on London’s transport network and stores such as Waitrose, Starbucks and Boots.
Users are able to make purchases up to £30 by tapping their phone or smartwatch on the reader, with purchases of a higher value requiring the user to authenticate the payment by unlocking the phone with a pin, password or fingerprint scanner.
Contactless payments have been rapidly increasing in popularity over the last 12 months.
The latest annual figures for contactless payment use, issued by Visa Europe, show that over three billion transactions were made across Europe in the last 12 months which represents a triple-fold increase over the previous 12-month period.