Back in September, Barclays announced that the app for their Barclaycard business was gearing up to support mobile payments via NFC. The app was all set by January, ready to compete with the likes of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. With Android Pay set to debut in the UK soon, Barclays has now announced that they will not be supporting it. Instead, they will be adding a "Contactless Mobile" payment options to their own banking app, as well as focusing on development of their apps and their widely used payment service, bPay. Mobile payments through the main Barclays app will work largely in the same way that they have within the Barclaycard app.
The app will check if a customer's phone supports NFC, then check if there are any eligible cards linked. Like the Barclaycard app, customers can pay with a single tap for amounts up to £30, but any greater amount will require an initial tap, entering of the customer's PIN number, then tapping again to confirm the payment. Unfortunately, the £100 cap for mobile contactless payments is another feature they will share. Payments can be made without opening up the app or using fingerprint verification, as is required for some competing solutions. The app will be able to tie into Barclays' bPay service, which is supported by a multitude of retailers and can be found in key fobs, wristbands and other devices.
Barclays is offering its own app and platform as an alternative to Android Pay in the UK and has announced that the updated app will be rolling out in June, over the course of a few days. Customers will receive a notification when their device has received the update and is ready to engage in Contactless Mobile payment. Android Pay, on the other hand, has a much more ambiguous release window in the UK and may well be beaten to the punch by Barclays' offering, further cementing its already de facto status as the mobile payment app of choice for Barclays customers. Additionally, since bPay works with some non-Barclays cards, bPay integration in the Barclays app could mean that it will be usable by customers of other banks, taking more wind out of Android Pay's sails.