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Android Pay to Make Its U.K. Premiere

February 29, 2016, 11:28 PM UTC
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Getty Images

Google’s mobile payments service, Android Pay, is set to launch in the United Kingdom within the next month, according to The Telegraph.

Android Pay, which debuted in September, lets shoppers pay at store checkout counters by waving their Android smartphones in front of a wireless reader.

The U.K. premiere would be Android Pay’s second international market and a major step forward for the fledgling digital wallet. In December, Google said the service would be arriving overseas for the first time in Australia in early 2016.

More than one million retail stores in the U.S. already have point-of-sale registers that accept Android Pay, which relies on near field communications technology, or NFC. Shoppers upload their credit and debit card information to the mobile app to pay instead of using cash or taking credit cards from their wallets.

The U.K. could be a major market for Android Pay. According to reports, 54.2% of mobile phones sold in the country during the first quarter of 2015 were Android devices.

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But rival mobile payments service Apple Pay has a nearly one year head start in the U.K. The iPhone maker also recently unveiled Apple Pay in China.

But Android Pay differs from Apple Pay in that it is available on many existing Android devices, including older phones. Currently, seven out of 10 Android phones in the U.S. are equipped for Android Pay.

Adoption of payments using smartphones has been noticeably more popular in the U.K. than the United States. Last year, British shoppers made nearly 1 billion co-called “contactless” purchases in stores and elsewhere including in the London Underground.

Google declined to comment about the Telegraph report.