Barclays Bank still penalise Android compared to Apple

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With yesterday’s news that Android Pay and Google Wallet are to be rolled into a single brand known as Google Pay, it was interesting to scroll down the list of UK banks which support the service and spot the one notable exception.

Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA, Nationwide, Metro Bank, NatWest, Santander, TSB, Royal Bank of Scotland and a ton of other UK banks are all signed up to what was Android Pay, but where are Barclays?

It would appear that Barclays are still doing their own thing and insisting that if customers want to make contactless payments with their smartphones that they use the banks own mobile app.

Benefits of Barclays Contactless Mobile

The Barclays app does have a couple of advantages over Google Pay, for instance they will allow you to make contactless payments of up to £100 with supporting retailers whereas Google Pay is limited in the UK to £30 or lower payments. They will also set up a separate 16-digit account number for transactions made using Contactless Mobile which is different to the 16-digit number on your physical card, but is linked to the same account and designed to help you keep track of payments.

Another benefit is that if you lose your bank card, Barclays can enable your new card on their banking app before it’s even posted to you – with Google Pay you’d have to wait for the new card to arrive before you could scan it and add it to your account.

Disadvantages of Barclays Contactless Mobile

Whilst their contactless mobile solution has some (even rather good) advantages, the major disadvantage is online. You can’t use Barclays Contactless Mobile for things like in-app purchases or to make a website payment. That’s a major win for Google Pay and frankly a real pain for Barclays customers. They either have to use a debit or credit card and type in their details or more likely simply use a competing service or a card from a different bank.

Barclays and Apple Pay

Users of Android devices have a reason to be envious of customers with their iPhones. Barclays have had to bow down to the mighty Apple who point blank refused to let third party applications get access to their NFC chip effectivly wiping out the ability for contactless payments via anything other than Apple Pay.

It’s a fair question to ask of Barclays as to why they won’t give Android users a choice. If the Barclays Contactless Mobile solution is so great then surely their customers will opt to make it their default service. If (especially for in-app and web payments) it’s not as good as they hope, then why not allow users to add their cards to Google Pay. Bearing in mind they’ve done it for Apple Pay it all seems a bit petty minded not to give Android users the same abilities with Google Pay… or am I missing something?

3 Responses

  1. Meh, Android gets a much better service than Windows 10 Mobile.

    Barclays are dropping the Windows banking app at the end of the month. Why? They claim that MS have dropped support for W10M and as such there are security issues. I would have sympathy for their reasoning but for 2 facts.

    1. Barclays are wrong- Although MS have stated that adding new OS features is no longer a priority, they have committed to publishing security updates (hence they recently patched the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerability on W10M).

    2. The Barclays banking app still works on versions of iOS and Android that are no longer supported by Apple or Google.

    Apologies for going off topic but I am currently considering leaving Barclays as a direct result of their iOS centic approach. Sure I could ditch W10m and get an Android but, as your article suggests, I would still be a “second class” customer. And no, I do not want an iPhone.

  2. The Barclays app allows transactions of up to £100, true. But still requires a PIN over £30 (or for everything but transit if you set it accordingly) since this is a general UK card industry requirement.
    Google/Apple/Samsung/Fitbit/Garmin/Amex/etc. Pay transactions are unlimited, subject to PIN/biometric above the same £30 limit.
    If you can’t use contactless above £30, that’s because the terminal doesn’t support it.

    Also, if you lose your card, the contents of your mobile wallet are generally unaffected irrespective of which device or app you’re using. That’s one major benefit. If you lose your device, you can quickly get a replacement card issued to the new device.
    The one time that Barclays (and Amex) may have an advantage is for brand new cards, since you generally need the physical card in hand to load it to Google/Apple/etc.

  3. Whilst Apple don’t give third party apps access to the NFC chip there are ways around it.

    I use the TescoPay+ app on my iPhone (when in a Tesco store) instead of ApplePay
    Why? it raises the limit to £100, automatically links with the “Clubcard”, get some bonus points, and is just as easy to use.

    It gets around the problem by showing onscreen a barcode/QRcode that can be scanned at the checkout.

    Barclays app could do something similar if they persuaded their participating retailers to adopt a standard for these barcodes.


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