Android Pay in Ireland

I’m aware I’m a bit late posting this but I had to wait until my KBC account was set up before I could test out Android Pay. Launched in Ireland on 7th December Android Pay allows you to pay using your Android phone as a ‘contactless card’. In theory it should work anywhere contactless cards are accepted but some retailers who are running old firmware on their card machines will not be compatible with Android Pay. There are also some shop assistants who refuse to accept payments using Android Pay for whatever reason. Currently only two banks in Ireland offer Android Pay – AIB and KBC.


Getting set up with Android pay took no more than 5 minutes for me. I downloaded the Android Pay app from the Play Store onto my Nexus 4. When I opened the app I was prompted to add a new card. There are two options, firstly use the camera to scan the card for the details or manually add the card. I used the camera and it picked up the long 16 digit number but I had to manually enter the expiry and security code. There were some T&Cs to read and accept. Then I was texted a verification code and entered it. After this I was ready to go. It’s a very straightforward process.

I’ve only used Android Pay in two retailers so far – McDonalds and Tesco. Both times it worked flawlessly. To pay, I wake up the phone and wave it over the card terminal as you would with the contactless card. You do not need to unlock your phone for payments under €30 just wake it up so the screen is on. If the payment is over €30 you will need to unlock the phone by entering in your pin/pattern/face recognition etc.

One great thing about Android Pay is that your debit card details are not used for the payment instead a token or virtual card number is sent to the credit card terminal for authorisation. This reduces the risk of fraud. Immediately after the payment is authorised you receive a notification to your phone. You can also see a list of all Android Pay transactions within the App including a pin on a map locating where the transaction was placed.

You can also use the Android Pay to pay in certain websites and Apps. When checking out you are presented with an option to pay with Android Pay. This removes the need to enter in your payment details and speeds up the process. I know accept Android Pay in their app to pay for placing adverts or purchases from shops. I’ve yet to use this so can’t comment about how it works.

It is also possible to add loyalty cards to the app. I added my Tesco Clubcard to it and when I was in Tesco it popped up reminding me to use it. However, it didn’t display the barcode just the very long Tesco clubcard number so in the end I didn’t use it. If implemented correctly this could be a very useful feature.

Some people say paying with your phone is a gimmick but I think its great. I still normally have to carry by wallet around with me but for certain trips I leave it at home and will just use Android Pay if required. Looking at my wallet I have two debit cards, a credit card, a Leinster rugby season ticket, LeapCard and a Dublin Bikes card plus my drivers licence. There is no reason why all of these can’t be on my phone and use the phones NFC. Or in the case of Leinster Season ticket where they scan the barcode, there is no reason why the barcode can’t be on my phone. It seems silly having to carry around so many cards when my phone is capable of replacing them.

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