Major UK banks line up in support for Android Pay launch; Nationwide pulls plug on V.me

Major UK banks line up in support for Android Pay launch; Nationwide pulls plug on V.me

Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society are the first banks to have lined up behind Google for the forthcoming launch of Android Pay in the UK

Set to launch sometime in the 'next few months', Android Pay will support MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards for tap and pay payments at 460,000 contactless terminals across the country, including Transport for London tube, bus and train travel. It can also be used to buy goods in third-party apps, saving users from re-keying payments details in multiple apps

Stephen Noakes, managing director retail customer products, Lloyds Banking Group says: “With more and more of our personal current account customers banking on the move with our mobile apps, there is clearly a need for us to continue to look for ways to support the changing needs of our customers. By offering Android Pay we’ll extend contactless payment capability to the majority of our customers who want to use their smart phone or device to make payments.”

While Lloyds is enthusiastic, local rival Barclays Bank is not planning to support Android Pay, preferring instead to go it alone with its own Barclaycard app which includes support for HCE-based NFC mobile payments,

First launched in the USA in September, Google says Android Pay is picking up 1.5 million new registrations each month.

In the UK, Android smartphones claim a 54% market share, giving the network significant scale as it bids to take on Apple Pay. The search engine giant says 'new banks are being added all the time' ahead of the full commercial roll-out.

Here's hoping that Nationwide has better luck with Android Pay than with Visa's V.me digital wallet. Nationwide became the first UK financial institution to roll out V.me for online shopping in November 2013. V.me lets registered users make secure online payments to participating merchants with just a username and password, removing the hassle of having to enter card account number, bill-to and ship-to information for every transaction.

At the time, Visa boasted that banks representing 80% of all consumers were already committed to the programme, and that by 2020 one-third of all European consumers would be using the wallet. Two years on, and Visa Europe has dropped support for V.me in favour of a rebranded proposition from Visa Inc, Visa Checkout, prompting Nationwide to pull the plug on the service with effect from the end of this month.

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