You are here

UK edges closer towards a cashless future as Android Pay launches

In mid-May the mobile payments world took another exciting twist as Android Pay officially launched in the UK. It now joins Apple’s mobile payments platform Apple Pay – offering businesses up and down the country even more ways to meet their customers’ growing demands for fast, simple, secure and intuitive ways to pay. As increasing numbers of UK consumers upgrade to devices supporting these platforms, the business case will become increasingly compelling. 

And for those still sitting on the fence, having the country’s most popular smartphone platform now on board might just provide the requisite push to expand their payment options.

The lowdown

Android Pay is, in many ways, pretty similar to Apple Pay from a technical point of view. It works via a tap-and-pay system in store thanks to NFC support (handsets need to have Android versions 4.4 KitKat and later). And it uses tokenisation for extra security – meaning that the user’s card number is never sent to the customer but instead, sensitive data is replaced with unique identification symbols that retain all the essential information about the data without compromising its security. It also allows users to pay for goods and services online via their phones without having to re-enter their card details each time. And the service launched with a slew of big name brands on board including Boots, Starbucks, Waitrose and Transport for London – Europe’s biggest single retailer, according to the BBC.

The UK is one of the biggest and most exciting markets for mobile payments in the world. In fact, Worldpay data estimates that eCommerce spending made via mobiles will increase from 18% last year to 28% by 2019 to reach $47 billion. To put that in context, the global average is set to be lower, at 23%.

A business no-brainer

Android currently has around 59% of the UK smartphone market, versus around 35% for Apple. Although it’s unclear how many of these devices are on Android 4.4 Kitkat or later, which support mobile payments, it is clear that users are increasingly demanding faster, easier ways to pay. Offering them the choice to do so should be a no-brainer for business owners looking to drive sales and increase the likelihood of repeat custom. As with contactless payments, mobile makes even more sense for those firms with low value, high volume sales. Tap-and-pay can speed the whole transaction process up and ensure you minimise queue drop-outs. And for Android Pay at least no adjustments have to be made to the contactless terminal to start accepting payments. 

In fact, for smaller businesses it offers a rare opportunity to level the playing field with your larger rivals and show that you place a high value on the customer experience. And for those worried about the security implications, there’s no need. Mobile is more secure than handling cash, and thanks to tokenisation, the business owner doesn’t need to store or process any card details themselves, which could reduce the PCI burden significantly.

Supporting mobile commerce platforms like Android Pay and Apple Pay will also help drive online sales, offering users a quick and easy way to pay in-app with just a single tap. And for those looking to move towards an omnichannel future there’s the prospect of offering customers the ability to research in-store and pay online. Or send promotional offers direct to customers’ phones for them to redeem in-store.

For any of you that are still in doubt about the potential in mobile payments, here are a few compelling stats:

  • Mobile payment sales will hit £1.2bn per week by 2020 (Visa Europe)
  • The number of mobile wallets using contactless technology will grow over 100% to reach 200 million by end of 2016 (Juniper Research)
  • The global value of mobile and wearable contactless payments will reach $95 billion annually by 2018, up from $35bn in 2015 (Juniper Research)
  • Consumers will purchase about 23 billion transport and events tickets worldwide using mobile handsets by 2020 (Juniper Research)

Worldpay is always looking for innovative new payment options to offer our customers. That’s why we support both Apple Pay and Android Pay for all businesses that have enabled contactless payments.

You can find out more on how contactless can help your businesses at www.worldpay.com/uk/sme/face-face/card-machines/contactless-payments or call us on 0345 761 6263 to upgrade your card machine to allow for contactless transactions.