Five of the most interesting payment stories of the week

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from the world of payments.


Android Pay hits the UK

Yes, after weeks of speculation, and a week of false starts, Android Pay has launched in the UK. The service is up and running on all Android phones that are version 4.4. and higher. According to analysts at IHS, there are 25m-30m devices in the UK that will be able to work with Google’s payments service. It is an exciting turn of events because many believed Barclays beat Android to the UK post by announcing that its own contactless payment service will launch next month. Barclays won’t be supporting Android Pay anyway, but it will be interesting if its mere presence will lead to Barclays customers insisting the bank support the tech giant’s payment service.

Image of samsung and htc phones showing Android Pay app


Older people are turning to contactless payments

Or at least older people who have a Barclaycard. New figures released by Barclaycard this week as part of its latest Contactless Spending Index shows that the number of ‘silver spenders’ – people over 60 – using contactless payments increased by 116% in the last 12 months. The 46-60 age group has seen a 97% increase in contactless users. Among the 18-24 age group, users have risen by 49 per cent

The figures come as the UKCA reveals that contactless spending passed £1.5 billion for the first time in March, increasing from £1 billion per month in November. This upward trend in the popularity of contactless is supported by Barclaycard’s data showing that overall spending has more than doubled in the last 12 months, rising by 123%.


There is a company that will give you an electric shock if you overspend

Last year, KPMG’s Liz Oakes said the behavioural pattern of millennials that sees them spend more online than any other generation, despite earning less will pave the way for the rise of personal finance management apps. We doubt she had in mind a wristband that gives users a 255 volt shock when they go over the agreed spending limit. A company called Intelligent Environments has created a platform that links an electric shock wristband to a bank account and zaps a user when the funds dip below the agreed limit. Apparently, it can also connect to the smart meter Nest and turn down heating/save energy if the funds are running low. You can watch the video of wristband in action on the BBC.


Weird payment alternatives to money include Italian cheese

We’re all so narrow-minded, creating form factor after form factor that all still rely not only basically on card rails, but also on the very limited idea of money. We should be more like Italian Bank Banco Emiliano, which accepts the cheese as collateral for a personal loan, giving farmers the cash injection they need until they can sell their wares.


The people of Langa Langa Lagoon in the Solomon Islands actually use seashells as a form of currency. One string of shell money is worth 1,000 Solomon dollars, or roughly £88 and has even been used to settle disputes. In China, up to 1935, tea bricks could be used to purchase livestock or even pay taxes.


Russia is all about online payments

According to think-tank TNS, online and mobile payments are proving to be a hit with Russian people. Almost 40% of respondents said that they use e-wallets via smartphones, 49% of users make payments through SMS, 55% pay with bank cards on their phones, and 61% use online banking apps.

The most popular online payment method is online banking, with 80% of users saying that they use it regularly. 79% use credit cards regularly online, 62% pay with e-wallets, and 47% will make use of SMS-payments.



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