Google has launched Android Pay, a contactless payment system, in the UK, 12 months after the US release.

As of this week users of phones running Android software can purchase goods and services anywhere via a contactless payment terminal.

The system has very little ‘competition’ but still faces a battle over shoppers’ digital wallets, where its main opponent will be Samsung.

Meanwhile iOS users are getting to grips with Apple Pay, which launched in the UK midway through last year.

Contactless buying

To shop using Android Pay, customers simply need to have the screen of their phones on and ensure the product they’re buying doesn’t exceed a value of £30. To purchase something a little more expensive, they will need to unlock their phones.

On a technical level the system is similar to its iOS counterpart in Apple Pay, creating a unique code for each transaction to ensure vendors don’t get hold of shoppers’ card and bank details.

What’s unique about it, however, is the bespoke offer system: Android Pay Day. The feature will provide special discounts and benefits from retailers such as Starbucks UK and Deliveroo on the last Tuesday of the month, taking advantage of when users are most likely to have money to play with.

For a smoother experience, loyalty and gift cards can be also integrated into Google’s contactless payment system.

The launch of Android Pay has been supported by a number of major banks, including Lloyds, Halifax and HSBC, as well as the London Underground.   

Seamless link

As the trend booms in Europe, Britain is among the countries leading contactless payment adoption. It is also the first country outside of the US to embrace Android Pay, although it’s likely to soon be accepted by other regions.

As reported by PerformanceIN last year, Brits especially like the idea of having personalised offers delivered to their mobiles while browsing in-store, and beacons seem to be the perfect match for the contactless trend.

With nearly 60% of smartphone owners in the UK using Android, the Pay solution could help to create a more seamless link between redeeming discounts on user’s phone and the in-store offering. Experts commenting on the news have also highlighted an opportunity for brands to improve their customer loyalty initiatives.