What is Google Pay? Like everything else, the way you pay for everything from a movie ticket to a new car is changing. Google Pay completely changes your finances and makes them high-tech, allowing you to consolidate all your accounts in one secure place.
Best of all, it turns your phone into your personal banking system, allowing you to make payments or transfer money in the blink of an eye. Learn all the steps you need to follow to start using this service right now.
How to send and receive money
If you’re in the U.S., you can use the Google Pay app to send money to family or friends using only their email address or phone number. Google Pay does not charge you for this service.
Here’s how to do it on iOS and Android:
- Open Google Pay. If you’re using iOS, tap +Send or Request at the bottom of the screen.
- If you’re using Android, tap Send at the bottom right of the screen, then tap +Send or Request.
- Select the contact to pay.
- Enter the amount you want to send.
- Click Submit.
- Confirm or change the payment method, then press Confirm and Submit. Note: You can click Cancel Transfer if you make a mistake or change your mind.
You can send up to $10,000 in one transaction, and up to $10,000 in one week (Florida residents can send up to $3,000 every 24 hours). Note, however, that the recipients of your money will have to add bank details to their accounts to receive a transfer over $2,500.
It’s also worth noting that this feature can be used in the U.S. (such as Puerto Rico) as long as your debit card was issued by a U.S.-licensed bank.
Sending money using Gmail
On iOS or Android, you can use Google Pay in Gmail to send money to any email address – even non-Google ones. Although different countries provide different services, you can also request or accept money using Gmail. Whether you pay or accept, your information is encrypted, and you can easily revoke access to your Google account on any device.
- Launch Gmail on your cell phone.
- At the bottom right of the screen, tap the Compose icon.
- In the upper-right corner, tap the “Compose” icon.
- At the bottom of the screen, select Send Money.
- Enter the amount you want to send and select a payment method.
- Click Attach Money.
- Add a note if you wish.
- Click Done.
- Click Send.
Receiving an email with money
If you want to receive money via Gmail, you must first add your debit card to your Google Account to receive the funds transferred. When someone sends you money through Gmail, your money is automatically credited to your card. To receive funds sent to you for the first time, do the following.
- Start Gmail on your cell phone.
- Open the message with the funds attached.
- Tap Transfer to bank and add the recipient’s debit card and details.
- Tap Request Money.
- Request Money by Email
- Start Gmail on your cell phone.
- In the lower-left corner, tap the Compose icon.
- In the upper right corner, tap the “Compose” icon.
- Tap Request Money at the bottom of the screen.
- Enter the amount.
- Tap Attach Request.
- Add a note, if desired.
- Tap Done.
- Tap Submit.
Restrictions by country
Many features of Google Pay are limited depending on the country. While this may change over time, it’s important to understand that these restrictions vary depending on where you live or do business. You can find more information here, but here are a few highlights:
- Google Pay for iOS is only available in the U.S. and India (and, contrary to popular rumors, Google Pay is protected by law in India).
- You can only send money to family and friends in the US or India.
- You can pay for transportation (train, bus, etc.) in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, and Ukraine.
Google Pay uses NFC contactless payment technology to make purchases at millions of physical stores in the United States and 39 countries around the world. Wherever you see the Google Pay symbol, simply unlock your phone and hold it up to the terminal – you don’t even have to open the Google Pay app. Then wait for the checkmark to appear, indicating that your payment has been registered. With Google Pay, merchants don’t have access to your actual credit card number – the system works on a tokenization basis, which allows it to process transactions using individual random account numbers rather than using real credit or debit card account numbers.
Google Pay transactions are secure, and the “Find My Device” feature allows you to locate, lock or erase stolen or lost devices so that no one else can use your card. In-app purchases are also equipped with security features (more on that below). If you link your Google Pay account to your PayPal account, it will automatically be enabled in Gmail, the Google Play Store, YouTube, or anywhere else Google offers paid services, without having to log in again.
Major U.S. banks now support Google Pay, including Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Bank of America. Many smaller banks and credit unions also support Google Pay. Google continues to expand this list, with recent additions such as Americana Community Bank, Stride Bank, First Harrison Bank and Finex Credit Union. Check the Google Pay support page to see if your bank is on the list.
In addition to using your phone to make purchases, major U.S. banks such as Chase and Bank of America offer cardless ATMs. For these customers, it’s easy to use their NFC-enabled Android phone to withdraw money. Google Pay also integrates with some mobile banking apps, so customers can add cards to Google Pay from those apps. Most banks that support Apple Pay also support Google Pay, since both use similar NFC technology. MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover also support Google Pay.
In-app and mobile web shopping
While you’re likely to use Google Pay primarily in stores, it’s also useful for in-app purchases. When you buy something in an app that supports the service, you’ll see a prompt for Google Pay. Apps that support Google Pay for in-app purchases include Lyft, OpenTable, Hotel Tonight, Instacart, Etsy, Airbnb, Postmates, Fandango, and others. If you’re shopping through a web browser – Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Microsoft Edge – on your phone, Google Pay-supported sites can make the checkout process easier.
Once you find the item you want to purchase, all you have to do is click Check Out. You will then be able to select the Buy with Google Pay button, which will open a payment window. This will show you the available cards and shipping addresses associated with your Google account – if you’re logged into more than one account, you can choose which one to use, and it will automatically fill in your credit card information and shipping address. Google Pay remembers the last card and shipping address you selected, but you can make changes at any time.
Here’s a list of countries where you can make in-app purchases with Google Pay.
Google Pay on smartwatches
Google Pay also extends to the Wear OS, which used to be called Android Wear. In the past, only users in the U.S. and U.K. could use Google Pay on their smartwatches, but the feature is now available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Russia and Spain. Australians can use their NFC Wear OS devices with Opal to pay for single-use tickets on some train and ferry lines. If you add a card to your watch, you won’t need your phone to pay. To get started with Google Pay on your smartwatch, do the following.
- On your watch, launch the Google Pay app.
- Tap Start.
- Set the screen lock.
- On your phone, follow the instructions to add a credit or debit card to your watch only.
- Your card will then appear on the watch.
To pay at the store, open the Google Pay app on the watch and point the watch at the terminal until you hear a sound or feel a vibration on your wrist. If asked, select Credit, regardless of your card type. If you pay for purchases with a debit card, you may be asked to enter the PIN set by your bank. Google Pay is already installed on supported watches, but PayPal on Google Pay is not supported on the watch. You also cannot add a discount card, loyalty card, or rewards card to Google Pay on the watch.
PayPal and Google Pay
Google Pay allows you to connect your PayPal account on Android devices with Android version 4.4 or later. To start paying with PayPal from your Android phone, click Pay below and select Add Payment Method. PayPal may also ask you to load funds into your PayPal Cash account. You can use your PayPal account with Google Pay to make purchases at stores that accept contactless payments, for in-app purchases, or using the Chrome mobile web browser to checkout.
Once you’ve added your PayPal account to Google Pay, you don’t have to sign in to PayPal when you make purchases from your phone using the Chrome browser. Simply click the PayPal button at checkout and confirm with your fingerprint, picture, or PIN. You can’t directly add PayPal to Google Pay on your iPhone through the iOS app, but you can add it online through your Google web account, and it will appear as a payment method in the iOS app afterwards.
Rewards and Loyalty
Google Pay can complement the various retail cards that normally fill your wallet, such as gift cards and loyalty cards. Google has expanded its partnerships to include many retailers. If you’re a member, all you have to do is add your Balance Rewards card to the Google Pay app. When you’re at the checkout, hold your Android phone up to the NFC terminal to apply your rewards information – when you’re ready to pay, hold up your smartphone or ask the cashier to scan a barcode or enter a member ID. You’ll need to first add your credit or debit card to Google Pay to complete your purchase.
Launch the Google Pay app.
- At the bottom of the screen, select Passes. If you are using Android, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
- Tap Loyalty Program or Gift Card. If you are using Android, tap Add Card first.
- Find the name of the merchant or program and tap.
- Follow the instructions on the screen.
- Your loyalty card will appear in Google Pay.
Google Pay privacy and security
We’ve already mentioned that Google uses tokenization to protect account numbers with virtual account numbers, but it’s understandable if you’re still concerned about privacy and data theft.
First, you should know that Google tells sites and apps if you have Google Pay so they can offer it to you as a payment method. If you prefer not to let third parties know, you can turn this feature off in your Google Pay privacy settings. What you can’t turn off is Google’s ability to collect data about your Google Pay transactions – some of which they use to help you, and some of which they use for their own purposes. It’s just a fee for using the service.
However, all payment information is encrypted and stored on Google’s own servers, so it’s pretty hard to hack from that side. But what if someone steals your phone? That’s why Google requires a screen lock to add credit cards to the Google Pay service and automatically deletes your virtual account number if the screen lock is turned off.
You have to be very careful when it comes to the security of your Google Pay. Hackers and scammers can quickly flood your emails, sending messages disguised as friends or family members who need financial help.
For this reason, it’s recommended that you regularly check your activity history on this page to make sure you’re the only one sending and receiving payments. Checking regularly will allow you to catch a potential hacker right away.
Google Pay vs. Apple Pay vs. Samsung Pay
Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are two significant players in the world of mobile payments, and both are healthy competition to Google. Apple Pay is closer in similarity to Google Pay than Samsung Pay. Nevertheless, both products are excellent.
Because of its reliance on NFC technology, Google Pay can’t match Samsung Pay, which uses both NFC and an additional system that allows Samsung Pay to work with older credit card terminals. This older MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technology, developed by Samsung, provides broad compatibility with every single store that supports magnetic stripe credit cards.
Samsung Pay technology has a wider reach than Google Pay and Apple Pay, but it is almost limited to Samsung phones and smartwatches. For this reason, Google Pay is a worthy competitor. It is compatible with a wide range of devices and supports constant technology updates.