Android Pay plans its European arrival

Android Pay is making its way to the UK - and (hopefully) the rest of Europe. Is this a good thing?

Good news for European mobile payment fans – Android Pay is going to finally make it outside the US:

Android users in the UK are already enjoying many great features of Android from Google Photos to Google Play, and in the next few months Android smartphones will become even more useful with the launch of Android Pay.

And there’s some pretty good support behind it:

Android Pay will support MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards from many of the UK’s major financial institutions — including Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society — with new banks being added all the time.

But – that’s only the UK, and at an indeterminate point in the next few months. Now, Apple Pay is already in the UK, and coming to Spain shortly. And that’s great – I’m really enjoying using it via my Apple Watch – but it’ll take Android support for mobile payments to really push it widely into the mainstream. And thus it’s a pity that it’s taking it so long to roll out.

Or is it?

Is cashless good for society?

A piece in The Guardian last week raises one significant concern about a cash-less future:

In a world without cash, every payment you make will be traceable. Do you want governments (which are not always benevolent), banks or payment processors to have potential access to that information? The power this would hand them is enormous and the potential scope for Orwellian levels of surveillance is terrifying.

And that brings a new level of concern to Apple’s battle with FBI – even if it is on hiatus.