You can now pay with your TSB credit and debit cards using Android Pay. But how exactly does it work? Stephen gets his geek on and goes shopping...
We love our smartphones. They're integral to the way we live our lives. On my Android phone I regularly shop, turn lights on and off, see where I am (and where I need to be), watch Hey Duggee with my kids, manage my bank accounts, check my credit rating, track my exercise, play music around the house, order coffee on the way to the station and try to find where I parked the car. The list of things you can do on these magic little devices just goes on and on.
I also have the Android Pay app, which allows me to make contactless payments with my phone. You might have seen people using it or Apple Pay, which works on a similar premise.
In short, Android Pay allows you to add your credit or debit cards to your device and make payments with it. It uses NFC - near field communications - technology, meaning it works in a similar way to your contactless-enabled payment cards for physical payments in store. It also works in selected apps and websites, allowing you to pay conveniently and quickly without having to enter your card details.
“When you're ready to pay, just unlock your device, hold it to the contactless terminal in a store and you'll hear a beep or feel a small vibration to confirm that the payment has been successful.”
Adding a card is simple. Click the '+' symbol in the app and follow the instructions. You'll need to read and accept some terms and conditions and you'll have to verify that you are the cardholder by receiving a code via text message or by speaking to someone at their contact centre.
If you don't have a screen lock on your phone, you'll be prompted to set one up. This is one of the security requirements of Android Pay and means that only the owner of the device can make payments with it. You can set a number of ways to unlock your phone including a PIN, pattern or - in some devices - fingerprint. I use a fingerprint, which has been working well for me.
Android Pay doesn't actually hold your card details on your phone. It sets up a virtual account number and shares that with the retailer. The Android system ties that to your account details and makes sure that all payments and refunds happen accurately. If you have Android Device Manager installed and set up, you should be able to lock or erase your phone if it's lost or stolen, meaning that your physical card details won't be compromised.
Making a payment is simple. Just about everywhere that accepts contactless payments will accept Android Pay. Some will display the Android Pay logo, but it's designed to work with all contactless terminals.
When you're ready to pay, just unlock your device, hold it to the contactless terminal in a store and you'll hear a beep or feel a small vibration to confirm that the payment has been successful.
Payments in apps and on mobile websites are even easier, as you'll just see a 'pay with Android Pay' button that'll provide all the payment details needed in one tap.
If you have more than one card that supports Android Pay, you can store them all on one device. Payment will always be taken from your default card, so if you need to change the card you want to pay with, you'll need to remember to do that before presenting your device to a reader. You'll be able to see a summary of your last ten Android Pay transactions per card in the app, as seen above.
It's also worth bearing in mind that Android Pay won't free you of your wallet completely. Transactions are usually limited to £30, as with other contactless payment methods. Some stores offer transactions over that limit, but they're exceptions at the moment. Plus if you're the type of person who finds themselves running out of battery, you could find yourself in an awkward situation if you have no back-up payment method!
But, if you're one of those people that can't help but get their phone out when in a queue, Android Pay could be a really convenient option. That's exactly how I've used it picking up lunch from Marks & Spencer (you can store your Sparks card in Android Pay too!) and coffee at Esquires. I also use it to pay for my commute to and from TSB HQ - if your transport network accepts contactless payments, Android Pay makes paying for travel a breeze!
If you've got a compatible Android device, you'll probably have the Android Pay app installed. But if not, you should be able to download it from Google Play and run it on any device that's running Android 4.4 (KitKat) and above, that supports NFC. If you're not sure what version of Android you have, go into Settingsand look for Android™ version. There are a handful of devices that don't support Android Pay, despite meeting these criteria - most notably the Nexus 7 tablet and the Samsung Galaxy S3. The full list is available in Google's Android Pay help section.
Don't forget to switch NFC on: go to your Settings again, tap More and make sure 'NFC' is listed and turned on. Once you've added a card, paying is as easy as waking your phone and putting your device on a contactless terminal.
Image: Natee Meepian/Shutterstock.com. Android Pay is a trademark of Google Inc. Android and AndroidPay are trademarks of Google Inc.