Google will unveil Android Pay in Britain to win a battle with its competitor, Apple Pay.
Now logging up 1.5 million users every week in the United States, Google’s mobile wallet and payment platform, Android Pay for Android apps and devices, is about to enter the United Kingdom, with a large number of partners including apps, physical retailers, payment platforms and banks.
The American search company is not disclosing an exact date for the release but one can assume it will be “in the next few months”. This is Google’s first in the European region and it appears to be the second one outside the United States, after it announced to unveil Android Pay in Australia in December (where it is yet to go live).
In the meantime, in the U.S., Google is adding more retailers and starting a new loyalty program to serve Android Pay users, in collaboration with the card-based rewards program, Plenti, from American Express.
Now, Android Pay users who log up to Plenti can redeem rewards and pick loyalty points up when they buy at participant retailers. Considering the issue with mobile payments that in most cases, people cannot find a reason enough to shift from using the current payment methods such as physical cards, integration with loyalty programs can possibly make services more “sticky” and useful.
In July 2015, Android Pay’s competitor ‘Apple Pay’ was launched in Britain. Samsung said its own-brand wallet service would be launched in the country in 2016. People had been noting hints of Android Pay’s imminent UK plans, but this is the initial official confirmation of the service by the company.
In a sense, considering that Apple launched Apple Pay earlier and banking organizations such as Barclays have done legwork to develop their own contactless payment applications and mobile wallets, Google is late, or at least has taken its time to bring Android Pay to the British market.
A reason might be that the search engine company was trying to seek cooperation of enough partners to enter the market. Today, this appears to be a main theme of its announcement. Eight huge banks are included – but some financial institutions left out, such as TSB and Barclays. When Apple Pay was launched, people indicated that it had missed some names, which then were included in the following months.
Pali Bhat of Google noted that more banking organizations are yet being included. The launch lists of retailers include 11 brands, including Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Waitrose Boots and London Transport Network to allow people to use the payment service on the city trains, buses and tube network.
In late 2015, Android Pay also started integrating with apps. Some of the organizations collaborating with Google on this are now extending support to the UK, along with some new additions, including JD Sports, fast fashion company ‘Zara’, and food delivery service ‘Deliveroo’. Similarly, some payment service providers are also collaborating, including Stripe, Klarna and Holland-based Adyen.