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Everything you need to know about Android Pay

Andy Boxall
android pay guide

With Android Pay, you can leave your wallet behind. Anyone with the corresponding app on an Android smartphone can pay for goods and services with a simple tap against a compatible point-of-sale terminal with near-field communication, or NFC.

Here’s everything you need to know about Android Pay, including the places and banks that support it.

International release

Android Pay made its debut on the global stage when it launched in the U.K. in May 2016, and the service has slowly continued to expand since. It’s now available in Japan, Ireland, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Poland. And at Google I/O 2017, the company announced it would land in more countries by the end of this year, starting with Canada, Russia, Spain, and Taiwan.

We don’t have details on specific launch partners for each territory, but we’ll update this post as soon as more information is available.

In mid-2017, international money transfer service WorldRemit recently became the first of its kind to use Android Pay. WorldRemit works in 125 countries, and with Android Pay integration, users can complete transfers while communicating with friends and family around the globe. The company charges a small markup on foreign exchange rates, Reuters reports, as well as processing fees under 5 percent for each transaction.

Canada

Android Pay officially launched in Canada on May 31, but American Express was curiously absent from the initial release. But that’s not the case anymore — the card was added to Google’s service, joining Visa, MasterCard, and Interac. In terms of banks, Scotiabank, Desjardins, and Bank of Montreal are also on board, though TD and Royal Bank are still missing.

You can check out the full list of institutions on Google’s site.

Taiwan

Android Pay officially launched in Taiwan in June of this year, and Google’s first partners in the country were Chinatrust Bank, First Bank, Visa, and Mastercard. The search giant says that more are on the way.

When it comes to retailers, only a few currently support Android Pay in Taiwan: Carrefour, Watsons, and PX Mart.

United Kingdom

Google’s first financial partners in the U.K. were the Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide, MBNA, and M&S Bank. The search giant recently added Santander, RBS, Ulster Bank, NatWest, Clydesdale Bank, and Yorkshire Bank to the list. Both MasterCard and Visa debit and credit cards from co-operating banks work, but only select TSB accounts can use it .

Barclays supports Apple Pay, but it doesn’t look support Android Pay; the second-largest U.K. bank launched its own NFC payments service called Contactless Mobile.

You can check this list to see the full list of banks that support Android Pay in the U.K.

U.K. retailers that accept Android Pay payments include Costa Coffee and Starbucks, Boots, Waitrose, Aldi, Superdrug, and KFC. Various shopping apps such as Deliveroo, Fancy, Kickstarter, Zara, Takeaway.com, and Hotel Tonight offer Android Pay as a payment option. Plus, like Apple Pay, transport for London’s ticketing system is fully supported.

The U.K.’s contactless payment restriction of £30 remains in place, but in some situations, you’ll be able to spend up to £100 provided you authorize the transaction using a fingerprint or PIN code.

Russia

Prior to Google I/O, four banks were named in relation to Android Pay’s Russian launch: Sberbank, Alfa, Raiffeisen, and Tinkoff. These banks were the first to receive the service when it launched, but the number of institutions has since expanded. Head over Google’s Android Pay blog for the full list.

Belgium

Android Pay is in Belgium. The company announced the launch in a blog post, and highlighted that the service was usable in as many as 85,000 banks. It works with both MasterCard and Visa and supports three major banks — BNP, Fintro, and Hello Bank. Google says that CBC, KBC, and KBC Brussels are all on the way.

Japan

Contactless and mobile payments are already widely used in Japan, and on December 12, Android Pay became the latest option for shoppers. It initially launched with Rakuten Edy, an eMoney service accepted in more than 470,000 locations, rather than local banks. And in 2017, Google introduced Visa and Mastercard options for some customers.

Ireland

On December 6, Android Pay made its way to Ireland, where it’s compatible with “thousands of retail locations throughout Ireland that accept contactless payments.” From McDonald’s to supermarket Tesco to book retailer Eason, there are plenty of places in which Europeans can now use Android Pay.

Here is a list of places where Android Pay is now accepted in Ireland.

New Zealand

In November, New Zealand received access to Android Pay, and it’s be available at a number of common locations, including The Warehouse, Domino’s, McDonald’s, etc. As of right now, it only supports the BNZ Flexi Debit Visa card, but will expand to more services as time goes on.

Poland

Poland got Android Pay in November, and Google says it’s available at more than 400,000 retail locations such as Costa Coffee, Carrefour, and Rossman. You can add your Mastercard or Visa debit or credit cards from the following Polish banks: Alior Bank, Bank Zachodni WBK, and T-Mobile Banking Services. Google says support for mBank will come soon, as well as others by the end of this year. The payment service will also be available in various apps soon, including Allegro, Ceneo, Fancy, iTaxi.pl, and Uber.

Hong Kong

In October, Android Pay launched in Hong Kong, with a related blog post noting that the service would be accepted “at over 5,000 locations in Hong Kong where contactless payments are accepted, including stores such as at 7-Eleven, Circle K, Fortress, Mannings, Maxim’s Cakes, MX, McDonald’s, Pacific Coffee, ParknShop, SmarTone, Watsons, Wellcome, and more.” Moreover, Android Pay also works in several apps including Boutir Collect, Deliveroo, Kaligo, Klook, and Snaptee.

You can check here to see all the supported banks in Hong Kong, including Hang Seng Bank, DBS Bank, Dah Sing Bank, the Bank of East Asia, Standard Chartered Bank, and more.

Australia

In Australia, Google claims to support an impressive number of supported banks — more than 25 including ANZ, Beyond Bank, and Macquarie. But unfortunately, ANZ is the only one out of the top four banks in Australia to with Android Pay compatibility.

To see the list of supported Australian banks, check here.

Aussies recently gained the ability to use Android Pay within select apps such as Catch of the Day, Deliveroo, Domino’s, EatNow, Hotel Tonight, Kogan.com and more. That means speedier checkout times in apps — you won’t have to type out all your credit card information.

Singapore

In late June, Singapore became the third country to get Android Pay.The service is compatible with MasterCard and Visa cards from many of the country’s largest institutions, including DBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, OCBC Bank, POSB Bank, and UOB.

You can check the full list of supported banks in Singapore here.

PayPal joins Android Pay

Android Pay is an excellent replacement for your credit or debit cards but what about your PayPal account? Starting May 24, Android Pay users running version 4.4 or higher of the mobile operating system gained the ability to link PayPal to their profile. Previously, the only way to use the web-based payment platform for in-store purchases was with a PayPal debit card, or by inputting your phone number and PIN into one of the few compatible terminals in the wild.

To get started paying with PayPal from your Android device, tap the button at the bottom right like you normally would to add a card, then select “Add other payment methods.” PayPal may ask you to load funds to your account if you have not already.

Android Pay is currently only able to pull from your PayPal balance for transactions, but eventually, any cards you have saved on your PayPal account will also be supported.

Support in the U.S.

All four major banks in the U.S. support Android Pay — that’s Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Bank of America. Chase Bank grossly lagged behind the rest of the major U.S. banks, but as of September 2016, it has finally added support for Android Pay. Of course, plenty of other banks are also lagging behind, but now the likes of BMO Harris have finally added support for the service.

Earlier his year, Bank of America announced that it would install NFC-enabled ATMs around the country which allow you to access your bank account to withdraw cash by tapping your phone.

Other U.S. institutions, integrations

In October 2017, Google announced support for 16 new banks and credit unions, including Chevron Federal Credit Union, Hawthorn Bank, Peoples Bank, Progressive Savings Bank, and Washington Financial Bank. That’s on the heels of the 71 new institutions that joined the platform this past summer, including 1st Constitution Bank, Central State Bank, and more. If your bank or credit union didn’t already support Android Pay, it may well now.

You can check out the full list of supported banks and credit unions for yourself here.

And before that, Google added 46 new banks to its roster, but they are names many will not recognize, except for Fifth Third Bank. Some of the others, according to Android Police, include the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Greenfield Banking Company, and the Peoples Federal Credit Union.

Most banks that already support Apple Pay will back Google’s service since both use similar NFC technology for payments — other top institutions include PNC, Capital One, TD Bank, HSBC, American Express, Ally Bank, and USAA.

In mid-December, Google added support for 31 additional rural banks and credit unions across the contiguous United States. They include Allegacy Federal Credit Union, the Bank of Walterboro, Canyon State Credit Union, First Piedmont Federal Savings, Jackson Community Federal Credit Union, Northeast Georgia Bank, San Francisco FCU, USC Credit Union, Verve, and Washington Trust Bank.

The expanded support comes on the heels of 19 additions earlier in December 2016. These include 1st Advantage Federal Credit Union, ACU of Texas, Alpine Credit Union, Alternatives FCU, Bank of the Ozarks, Union State Bank of Fargo, and Valley Federal Credit Union.

visa-checkout

MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover support Android Pay. Sites that support Visa Checkout and Masterpass can handle Android Pay as well, thanks to a strategic partnership. You can use your fingerprint to confirm payments, and Visa Checkout and Masterpass customers can link their accounts with Android Pay as well.

Mobile banking app integration

Android Pay is now integrating with several banking apps around the world to make it a little easier to use Android Pay. Now, many customers will be able to add cards to Android Pay from their mobile banking apps at the tap of a button. At the launch of the new feature, there are a few banks that are supported, including Bank of America, Discover, Bank of New Zealand, mBank, and USAA.

In-App and mobile web purchases

android pay vendors

Although you’ll probably use Android Pay mostly in shops, it will also let you make in-app purchases. When you’re about to purchase something in an app that supports the service, you’ll see a button that will allow you to pay using Android Pay, eliminating the need to get your wallet and pull out your credit or debit card. At the moment, Google has listed more than a dozen apps that support in-app purchases with Android Pay including Lyft, OpenTable, Hotel Tonight, Instacart, and, most recently, Etsy.

If you make purchases via the Chrome Browser app on your phone, you’re in luck. Google is adding support for Android Pay for certain sites, making the checkout process less of a hassle. It currently works with a handful of sites such as Groupon and 1-800-Flowers. The integration with Visa Checkout and Masterpass is sure to boost the number of sites that support Android Pay as well.

“Just like in stores and in apps, Android Pay does not share actual account numbers with merchants, so users can shop online with confidence, knowing that Android Pay keeps their card number secure,” according to the Android blog.

Compatible devices and security

To use Android Pay, you’ll need an NFC-enabled smartphone running Android 4.4 KitKat and above. It will work at stores with NFC contactless payment terminals.

Like most NFC payment systems, Android Pay comes with all the necessary security, including a way to shut down devices that have been stolen so nobody can use your card. The system uses tokenization, which processes transactions via individual random account numbers, rather than your actual credit or debit card account number. In-app purchases are as safe as its NFC contactless counterpart.

Rewards and loyalty

As Android Pay is meant to replace your wallet, it’s expanding to include all those other cards you would typically have on you as well — gift and loyalty cards.

Google has been expanding its partnerships, and as such the company says Android Pay is the first mobile wallet to “deeply integrate” with Uber’s Payment Rewards program.

Walgreens says its Balance Rewards members can now apply their loyalty account via Android Pay at checkout. If you’re a member, all you need to do is add your Balance Rewards card to the Android Pay app. When you’re at the register, hold up your Android smartphone to the NFC terminal to apply your rewards information — when you’re ready to pay, hold the smartphone up again at the same place. You’ll have to add your credit or debit card beforehand to complete the purchase, of course.

Stores with NFC terminals support Android Pay

Like all other forms of NFC payment, Android Pay will be accepted in more than one million stores across the United States, including Toys ‘R’ Us, GameStop, Subway, Whole Foods, and more.

android pay

Limited support for NFC payments is the main hurdle systems like Android Pay and Apple Pay face in the United States and elsewhere. However, Apple Pay has managed to increase the amount of interest in contactless payment, which in turn helps Android Pay to be accepted at all of these stores. As more stores switch over to the EMV standard in the United States, NFC adoption could rise as well.

Competitors

There are a lot of big players in mobile payments these days, the most iconic of which are Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Google’s Android Pay competes with both services, but it is quite similar to Apple Pay in its implementation and reliance on NFC technology.

In contrast, Samsung Pay uses a unique system that is capable of manipulating regular card registers. The MST technology, which Samsung acquired for $200 million, allows the payments service to be compatible in every store that supports credit cards with magstripes. As such, Samsung Pay has a much longer reach than Android Pay and Apple Pay, though it is limited to Samsung phones and the Gear S2/Gear S3 smartwatch only.

We’ll keep you updated as more partners and details are announced.

Update: Added news that 16 new banks and unions in the United States support Android Pay.