What is Google Pay (Android Pay) and How To Use It

What is Google Pay (Android Pay) and How To Use It

With everything going digital, from books to banking, it’s not surprising that so many companies are setting up apps allowing you to pay via your phone. If you often realise you’ve left your debit card or wallet at home, payment service apps like Google Pay are a lifesaver.

Formerly known as Android Pay, Google Pay is a contactless payment method that allows you to buy products in store with just a tap of your Android phone. There are no fees for using it, and there’s just a few steps to getting started.

If you’re new to contactless mobile payments and card not present transactions, our quick guide will help you understand how to get set up, and how to use Google Pay to make your spending as easy as the click of a button!

someone using google pay app to pay on card reader


What is Google Pay?

Originally named Google Wallet, in 2018 the service merged with Android Pay to become Google Pay.

Google Pay is essentially a digital wallet (e wallet) that allows you to store your debit and credit card information on an app in order to pay using your phone or android device.

Thanks to your smartphone’s NFC (near field communication) chip, you can easily make peer to peer payments, in-app purchases, and use it to pay for items online and in person.

Forget the hassle of running around trying to find your card details, or realising you’ve forgotten your card at the checkout – your details are all on the payment app.

There’s no need to stress over its security. Your bank account details and payment information are stored on secure servers, and never shared with the businesses or stores you’re buying from. Google Pay also requires you to have a screen lock set up before you can use the system, meaning if your phone gets lost or stolen, no one can run off and rack up charges on your card.


How to set up Google Pay

Setting up Google Pay on your phone takes just a few minutes, however you’ll first need to create a Google account via the Google website. Once you’re set up, just follow these quick steps:

  1. Download the Google Pay app from the Google Play store or App Store, if it’s not already installed.
  2. Open up the app and click ‘Add a new card’.
  3. Either manually enter your card number and details, or scan your card with your mobile camera.
  4. Verify the card via a link by SMS or email.

Provided that the store or business that you’re purchasing from accepts Google payments, you can now use your smartphone or watch to pay.


How to use Google Pay

Using Google Pay in store couldn’t be easier, and all you need to do is ensure you have your smartphone or smartwatch with you.

Just unlock your phone and place it next to the contactless payment terminal (whether this be a traditional PDQ machine or card reader) for a couple of seconds, and once the transaction has completed, a blue checkmark should pop up, or you’ll hear a short beep. No confirmation or card pin needed – your items are paid for and you’re good to go!

Though there isn’t a limit on the amount you can spend using Google Pay, many retailers will enforce a maximum value you can spend without entering a pin. You can currently make contactless purchases up to £45, however the UK announced plans in March 2021 to eventually increase the limit to £100.

To pay using Google Pay on websites, it’s equally as simple. When you get to the checkout section of your transaction, supported sites will show the Google Pay purchase icon next to other payment options like PayPal or Klarna. Just confirm which card you would like to use, and enter your 3 digit CVV. You can even have Google Chrome save your details to make the process faster.


Google Pay for Merchants

Accepting Google Pay transactions as a business is one of the best ways to keep your customers’ checkout experience as quick and simple as possible.

To get started, you’ll first need to create a Google Pay merchant account, and follow these steps:

  1. Download the ‘Google Pay for Business’ app from the Playstore.
  2. Sign up using the Google account you want to accept payments through.
  3. Follow prompts to enter your business details on the form.
  4. Enter your Unified Payments Interface ID, otherwise known as a virtual payment address (VPA), which you’ll need to create if you don’t already have one.

Once you’ve provided the VPA, Google will deposit a minimal amount into the account that’s linked. You’ll need to verify the bank account by checking the transaction, and then entering the deposited amount into the Unified Payments Interface verification screen in your Google Pay account.

Once this is all done, Google will review your application details and approve you within 48 hours.

As a business owner, you should be clued up on all the different payment methods you can accept, Google Pay being a leading competitor to physical debit and credit cards.

google pay app tile on phone interface

Which banks support Google Pay?

The majority of major banks support Google Pay, with the list including:

  • American Express
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Clydesdale Bank
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Bank
  • NatWest
  • Revolut
  • TSB
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Santander

The main notable exception is Barclays, likely as a result of launching their own payment system app. To check whether Google Pay is compatible with your bank or card provider, you can see Google’s full list of supported banks and cards.


Is Google Pay free?

There is no charge for customers using Google Pay. The app is free to download and there are no extra in-app purchases. You’re also not required to pay additional charges on top of your transactions.


Google Pay vs Apple Pay

There’s relatively little difference between Google Pay and Apple Pay, as the two offer very similar services. Plus the right choice will likely be decided for you, as it really depends on the type of smartphone you have.

Apple Pay is compatible with most iPhone and iPad models that have face or touch ID technology, and can be used with an Apple Watch.

Google Pay will work with any Android device that has NFC technology and runs KitKat 4.4+, and any smartwatch with NFC. It also works on some Apple devices.

Other than this, there’s really not much to push one ahead of the other! They both effectively allow you to make safe, contactless transactions. For more details on how Apple Pay works, check out our post on How To Use Apple Pay.

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