Barclays to launche contactless payment app for Android

Bank’s payment system, expected to start in June, is a direct rival to Google’s Android Pay and arrives 12 months after Apple Pay

Barclays is launching the UK’s first Android contactless payment service, which will allow customers to use their smartphone to “wave and pay” in shops, restaurants and across the London transport network.

Hot on the heels of Apple Pay, and offered as a direct rival to Google’s Android Pay which launches in the UK this year, Barclays’ Contactless Mobile will enable customers to pay with their Android handset in the same way as a contactless bank card. The service is expected go live in June.

Contactless card payments have boomed in the past few years, helped by increasing numbers of contactless cards in wallets, and far more contactless terminals in shops and restaurants. Visa said yesterday that 3bn contactless transactions were made across Europe in the past 12 months, three times as many as the year before.

Contactless mobile payments, in which the handset takes the place of the bank card, are seen as the next big thing in payments, as more consumers upgrade to mobiles equipped with the necessary near field communication (NFC) technology.

Barclays said its service would be incorporated into its Barclays mobile banking app, which is used by 5 million customers.

Only customers who have one of the latest Android smartphones – typically less than six months old – will be able to make contactless payments. To make a purchase up to the contactless maximum of £30 the phone will have to be turned on, but no bank card has to be present. Users select a default bank card within the app, but can switch to another before purchase if required.

The service will also allow contactless payments up to £100 with the use of a pin typed into the phone’s keypad.

Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, said: “Giving customers the choice about how to make everyday payments while making it really easy for people to use our services is why we’ve designed this contactless payment functionality. It’s all there in one place, ready to go with no need to enter card details, delivering a brilliant experience in an instant.”

Most of the rival UK banks will operate Google’s Android Pay. Apple iPhone users have had access to Apple Pay in the UK since July. Similarly, that is limited to owners of the latest NFC-enabled handsets.

Contributor

Miles Brignall

The GuardianTramp

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