The service will support MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards from banks and building societies including Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society. Google said more banks are being added.
In launching Android Pay in the U.K., Google is going head-to-head with rival Apple which has its own contactless payments system called Apple Pay. Google has a 52.6 percent market share with Android smartphones in the U.K., versus Apple's 38.6 percecnt with iOS, according to Kantar Worldpanel.
But Apple is not only competition for Google. Samsung is also in the space and it's offering – Samsung Pay – is also launching in the U.K. this year. While Google and Apple's solutions work via NFC, Samsung's service can use magnetic strip technology as well, meaning retailers will not have to upgrade their point-of-sales terminals.
Google said that Android Pay has been "growing steadily" in the U.S. with 1.5 million new registrations happening each month.