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Google Pay (Android Pay)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Google Pay is a digital wallet and payment platform from Google. It enables users to pay for transactions with Android devices in-store and on supported websites, mobile apps and Google services, like the Google Play Store.

Users link credit or debit cards to their Google Pay account, which is used for making the transactions for in-store or online purchases. On Android devices, Google Pay uses near field communication (NFC) to interact with payment terminals. When signed in to one’s Google account in the Chrome browser, users can conduct transitions with Google Pay on sites that support the service.

History of Google Pay

Google Wallet was the company’s first mobile payment system, developed for Android devices in 2011. In 2015, it was renamed Android Pay, with Google Wallet refocused to strictly peer-to-peer (P2P) payments.

In 2018, Google announced that Google Wallet would join the other payment offerings under the Google Pay branding. Google Wallet was then renamed Google Pay Send.

Google Pay is available for contactless payments on Android devices. The peer-to-peer functions and account access are available on iOS. However, when using an iPhone or Apple Watch for NFC payments, only Apple Pay is eligible for this use case.

Using Google Pay

The Google Pay service works with hundreds of banks and payment providers. Specifically, cards from Visa, MasterCard, Discovery and American Express are called out for support. Users should check with their individual bank if they are unsure about its compatibility with Google Pay. Additionally, the Google Pay user website maintains a list of supported banks by country.

There is also a Google support site list of featured stores and transit agencies that support Google Pay. Users should look for the Google Pay symbol or contactless payment symbol on a terminal. To pay, users must have the Google Pay app installed on their device and have linked a card to their account.

After using Google Pay, the list of previous transactions are saved to one’s Google account for later retrieval and record keeping.

Security of Google Pay

Google Pay generates a unique, encrypted number instead of your actual credit card number when registering the transaction. Additionally, this virtual account number is removed if screen lock is disabled on the user’s device.

If a device is lost, Google’s Find My Device service can be used to remotely wipe sensitive information, if necessary. Users can also sign into their Google Pay account from another device and remove any cards or bank accounts they have attached.

Google Pay Send

Google Pay Send is the peer-to-peer payment function of Google Pay. Individuals can use the service to send money to friends or other contacts by inputting their email address or phone number into the application.

Whoever receives the money must link the phone number or email address to a bank account. Or if they have an existing Google Pay account, funds will post directly to that account. Payments can be sent without fees through the app for Android, iOS or through one’s Google Pay account on the web.

This was last updated in September 2019

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