Android Pay pips past Apple Pay to launch in Ireland first

7 Dec 2016

To make payments with Android Pay at a contactless terminal, just wake up your phone. Image: LDprod/Shutterstock

Google’s Android Pay platform has pipped Apple to the post in bringing the mobile wallet revolution to Ireland, in collaboration with AIB and KBC Bank.

As of today, smartphone users with NFC-enabled Android devices will be able to use Android Pay at the thousands of locations across Ireland that accept contactless payments.

Stores such as Boots, Eason, Spar, Tesco, McDonalds and Londis are just a few of the stores that are ready to accept payments.

‘This is a landmark for digital payments in Ireland’

A first-look at the new platform indicates that it is quick and easy to set up. Just download the app, take a picture of your bank card, answer the correct verification tests in terms of mobile number, CVV code and other unique identifiers, and the Android Pay service is up and running.

The Android Pay mobile wallet then stores a visual representation of your cards, including loyalty cards.

The Android Pay wallet also enables in-app purchases from sites like, Deliveroo, Hotel Tonight and Uber, with more to come.

A spokesperson for Google said that, because Android Pay doesn’t share your actual credit or debit card number with stores when you pay, it’s safer than using a plastic card.

Quick and easy payments with Android Pay

Android Pay pips past Apple Pay to launch in Ireland first

Image: John Kennedy

Making payments at checkout counters is quite simple.

Once users are ready to make a purchase, they simply need to wake up their phone for purchases less than €30 or unlock their phone for purchases greater than €30, hold it to the payment terminal, and then the payment is made.

After check out, the customer will get some helpful information on their phone about their recent transactions.

To get started, download Android Pay from the Play Store and add an eligible MasterCard or Visa card (credit or debit) from AIB and KBC, with more banks being added in the coming months. Android Pay is available on all Android devices that are NFC-enabled and running on KitKat 4.4 or higher.

Android Pay pips Apple Pay to launch in Ireland first

The move puts Android Pay in pole position over rival platform Apple Pay, which still hasn’t launched in Ireland.

“This is a landmark for digital payments in Ireland, and as such we are thrilled to be working with Google and our partner banks on behalf of our cardholders,” said Jason Lalor, general manager of MasterCard in Ireland.

“Every Android Pay transaction made with a MasterCard enjoys the highest level of security today. Cardholder details are encrypted so retailers won’t see them.”

The key to the technology is tokenisation. In setting up a device for Android Pay, MasterCard generates a digital ‘token’ that is associated with each particular device and stored on a secure server.

This process is powered by the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES), which enables mobile phones and other ‘commerce devices’ to make payments using industry-standard tokenisation.

This process of tokenisation means that, when a consumer uses their Android device in a transaction, it is the token and not their real card number that is provided to the shop.

“Our cardholders are making over 5m contactless payments on a monthly basis,” said Fergal Coburn, head of digital products and payments at AIB.

“With Android Pay, AIB customers will have even greater choice in the way they purchase goods and services. We are really excited to be one of the first banks in Ireland to offer this service to our customers.”

Dara Deering, executive director and head of retail banking at KBC Bank Ireland explained: “Android Pay is the latest digital offering from KBC that is making mobile banking easier than ever before.”

“Customers can already open and use their KBC current account online, and now they can pay for goods nationwide by simply using Android Pay through an Android phone.

“We are continuing to see an increase in the number of our customers banking through digital channels, with the amount of mobile and online usage at KBC rising by 109pc over the summer months compared to the same period last year, so this is a perfect offering for our customers.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years