Use Google to send money and buy things at millions of places
Tim Fisher has more than 30 years' of professional technology experience. He's been writing about tech for more than two decades and serves as the VP and General Manager of Lifewire.
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There are two ways to pay with Google and both use the free payment platform called Google Pay. One use is for buying things and the other is for exchanging money with other users.
Previously called Google Wallet, Google Pay runs on Android and iOS and has a plethora of features: pay at physical and online stores, earn rewards, manage your money, and send and receive money with friends.
What Is Google Pay?
Google Pay is a combination digital wallet and online bank, plus some. Keep your physical cards in one place by storing debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, coupons, gift cards, and tickets. Send money directly to anyone's account, get cash back when you redeem offers, order food, pay for gas, check out easier online, and even pay for street parking in some areas.
The app uses your card information to make purchases, so you don’t have to transfer money to a special account or open a new bank account to spend your money. When it's time to buy something, the card you choose is used to pay wirelessly.
Android users can pay wirelessly with their phone at supported stores, similar to Apple Pay on iOS devices. Both platforms can take advantage of Google Pay’s online features to do things like split expenses with other users, earn rewards for qualified purchases, view your financial information in one place, and pay for goods at some stores and gas stations.
Not all cards are supported. Check which ones are in Google’s list of supported banks.
Google payments are allowed anywhere you see the Google Pay symbol. Some of the places you can use it include Whole Foods, Walgreens, Best Buy, McDonald’s, Macy’s, Petco, Wish, Subway, Airbnb, Fandango, Postmates, DoorDash, and many others.
Here's how to use Google Pay in stores:
Paying wirelessly directly from your phone only works on Android. To do this with an iPhone, connect your phone to a Wear smartwatch and pay with the watch.
Google Pay for P2P Payments
Sending and receiving money through Google Pay is convenient and super easy. Funds can come directly from your debit card or bank account, as well as from your Google Pay balance, which is a holding place for money that you don't want to keep in your bank.
When you receive money, it's deposited to whatever payment method is chosen as your default, which can be a bank, debit card, or your Google Pay balance. If you choose a bank or card, the funds go directly into that bank account. Setting the Google Pay balance as your default payment keeps incoming money in your Google account until you move it manually.
More Information on Google Pay
Some websites support the ability to check out with Google Pay. When you see this option, you can quickly pay without having to enter your card information since it's already stored in your Google account.
To send over $2,500, the recipient needs to add a bank account to claim the money. Here are some other limits on how much you can send with Google Pay:
- Single transaction: Up to $10,000 USD
- In 7 days: Up to $10,000 USD
- Florida residents: Up to $3,000 USD every 24 hours.
The service was previously available from the web at pay.google.com, where you could send and receive money without the app. Google phased out that option in early 2021.
Google Wallet used to offer a debit card that let you spend your balance in stores and online, but that's been discontinued and there isn’t a Google Pay card you can get.
Many or all of the products here are from our partners. We may earn a commission from offers on this page. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
Image source: Getty Images
With several choices for contactless payments apps, does Google Pay hold its ground when it comes to security and privacy?Image source: Getty Images.
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What is Google Pay and how does it work?
Google recently consolidated its payment services into one unified app, replacing Android Pay and Google Wallet. Google Pay allows Android users to complete and track purchases using their phone. It also allows peer-to-peer payments between family and friends and the ability to store boarding passes and movie tickets.
The payment system is designed to make your checkout process faster and more convenient whether you are at home or on the go. Google Pay can be used online, within apps, and in stores that support Google Pay as a form of payment.
Why Google Pay might be safer than using your card
When you make a purchase online by entering your credit card information, you rely on the vendor to provide adequate security measures that protect you from credit card fraud because you’re handing over your credit card information. With Google Pay, your payment information is always encrypted and stored on Google’s secure servers.
Google Wallet allows you to store various payment methods, like your credit and debit cards, to speed up your checkout process. Encryption and passkeys are used to safeguard your financial information. This prevents the seller or outside individuals from accessing your information with each purchase.
Most purchases will require you to unlock your phone, with some exceptions for certain small payments. When you make an in-store purchase, Google assigns a temporary unique virtual account number that is shared with the merchant instead of your actual account information. For an added layer of security, Google Pay automatically removes this virtual account number if your screen lock feature is disabled on your device.
How to keep your information safe while using Google Pay
Google Pay has many layers of security to help make your buying experience safe and secure. However, no payment system is completely secure. Here are some tips to take an active role in keeping your information protected
If your phone is lost or stolen, you’ll need to take immediate action. Use the “Find My Device” feature on your phone as soon as you realize your phone is missing. You can locate, lock, or erase your information depending on the scenario.
Be aware if you leave your phone unlocked, it can be used by others to make purchases. That being said, the thief won’t be able to directly access your financial information since Google Pay doesn’t store your actual card information on your phone. Make sure your phone is always locked behind a passcode and biometric identification measure.
Only send money through Google Pay to people or businesses you know. Don’t make purchases through public online forums, especially if the seller is exhibiting any suspicious behaviors. The money-sending feature is designed for sending money between friends and family, along with small business transactions. Stick to paying the seller in-person to ensure you receive your items.
It may ease your mind to know that your credit card’s fraud protection policy remains in place if you’re using a mobile wallet. The best credit cards have zero liability fraud protection.
Google Pay is a great option for making your life a little bit more streamlined with added convenience and security. As with any form of payment, always take extra precautions to safeguard your financial information and immediately report any unauthorized charges.
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Tip: The Google Pay app won’t work if your device is modified or rooted.
Set up the Google Pay app
To set up the Google Pay app:
- Make sure your phone’s Android version is Lollipop (5.0) or higher. Google Pay.
- Open the Google Pay app and follow the setup instructions.
- When you’re asked to, add a card.
- You may be asked to set up a screen lock on your Android device. Google Pay works with PIN, pattern, password, fingerprint, or retinae scanning screen locks. It won’t work with facial recognition or screen locks like Smart Unlock or Knock to Unlock.
- To make purchases in stores:Make sure your device meets software standards, has NFC, and NFC is turned on. Your phone must also have HCE.
- E-Money users in Japan: Your device must be Osaifu-Keitai compatible. QUICPay/iD users must have Osaifu-Keitai version 6.1.5 or higher. iD users must also have Google Pay app version 2.89 or higher.
- For third-party payment apps that use Google Accounts, like iD, QUICPay, Mobile Suica, and Mobile PASMO, use the same Google Account that you use in Google Pay.
- If you have another contactless payment app on your phone: In your phone’s Settings app, make Google Pay the default payment app.
If your Google Pay app disappeared after you open it for the first time, it may be because the app is not in your main screen. To show it again, in your device settings, change the Home Screen setting to Drawer or Show all apps.
Problems setting up
If you see one of the below errors, your phone might not be supported.
- “Google Pay can’t be used”
- “Google is unable to verify your device”
- “You can no longer use Google Pay on this phone”
Make sure your phone’s Android version is Lollipop (5.0) or higher. To check your Android version:
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews. Read more.
Thanks to smartphones, it’s now easier than ever to send money to people. Google Pay is a powerful service with many features, one of which is peer-to-peer payments. We’ll show you how easy it is to send others money.
Google revamped Google Pay in late 2020 with a bevy of new features, but one that has been around for a while is the ability to send money to people. It’s possible to quickly transfer money to anyone with a Google Pay account.
First, open the “Google Pay” app on your iPhone or Android device. Make sure you’re on the main “Pay” tab.
At the top of the “Pay” tab is the “People” section, tap “Find People to Pay.”
There are a couple of different ways to find someone to pay. You can tap “Scan QR Code” to scan the person’s personal Google Pay code. The easier option is to simply do a search at the top of the screen.
You can search by name, phone number, and email address. If the person has signed up for Google Pay, they will show up. If not, you can invite them.
If the person is a Google Pay user, simply tap their name from the results.
A messenger-like conversation screen will open. At the bottom, there are a few buttons. Tap “Pay” to begin sending money.
Next, type the amount of money you want to send and add a note about it. Tap the blue checkmark when you’re done.
A confirmation pop-up message will appear. You can select a different payment method if you’d like. If the person is not in your contact list, Google will alert you to make sure the info is correct. Tap “Pay $X.XX” when you’re ready.
It will take a few seconds for the transfer to process. When it’s done, Google Pay will tell you how much was sent and at what time it occurred. Tap “Got It” to finish up.
The transfer will now appear on the conversation screen with the person.
That’s all there is to it! This is a pretty simple process if you can get people to use Google Pay in the first place. The fact that you can’t use credit cards is a bit cumbersome, but other methods work fine.
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Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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The new Google Pay app has a slew of new features (as well as a snazzy new logo). One of the more useful features is the ability to link your debit and credit cards. Doing so will enable you to track all of your spending, making balancing your checkbook super easy.
What Is Google Pay?
Google Pay launched a few years ago and was primarily envisioned as a way to make payments with your smartphone. Basically, a user could link their debit, credit and loyalty cards to the app. Google Pay would then allow the user to make contactless payments using their phone, reducing the nee to pull out a wallet or rummage through a bag.
While Google Pay is primarily focused on these contactless mobile payments via smartphone, the app boasts other features as well. One such feature is a peer-to-peer payment system similar to Venmo. Furthermore, Google Pay automatically curates deals and discounts available based on your location and personal spending history.
How Does Google Pay Help with Budgeting?
Thanks to an overhaul to the Google Pay app earlier this year, Google Pay has expanded its abilities. One of the most useful is the “Insights” feature. Essentially, this feature allows users to link their bank accounts to the Google Pay app. Doing so will give users the opportunity to track their spending. This gives users an overview of their current financial situation, including how much money they have and how much they are spending.
Google Pay will also provide users with detailed charts and graphs to help people understand where their money is going. Furthermore, Google Pay can also help users digitize and organize their receipts, which is super handy come tax time.
Download the Google Pay App
To get started, the first thing you need to do is download the latest version of the Google Pay app. If you already have the Google Pay app on your phone, there’s a chance that it may be an older version that doesn’t have the “Insights” feature.
Make sure you grab the latest version of Google Pay for your Android or iOS device. Once you’ve installed the Google Pay app, launch it and sign in using your Google account credentials.
Link Your Bank Account
With the Google Pay app open on your Android or iOS device, tap on “Insights” on the right side. Here you’ll see a button labelled “Add an Account.” Go ahead and tap on that.
Now that you have the legal stuff out of the way, you can finally link your bank account to Google Pay. The first thing you need to do is identify your bank. Use the search bar at the top of the screen to find your bank and select it. Next, you’ll need to punch in your bank login credentials. Finally, tap on the submit button to link your account.
Note: different banks will have different login credentials. Just carefully follow the steps on screen and your bank account will be linked in no time.
What Is Plaid?
In the previous section we mentioned that Google Pay uses a service called Plaid to link your bank account to the app. If you’ve never heard of Plaid, you may be asking yourself, what does a fabric pattern have to do with my personal finances?
Plaid is a financial services company that enables applications (like Google Pay) to connect to user bank accounts. This enables the user to check their balances and make payments via the app of their choice. Think of it this way: instead of having separate apps for all of your financial accounts, Plaid allows you to integrate these accounts into a singular app (like Google Pay).
How to See All of Your Transactions
Now that you’ve linked your bank account to Google Pay, you’ll be able to take advantage of the “Insights” feature. Be aware that it may take a few minutes before your bank account is linked to Google Pay. Once your account is linked, you’ll see a section labelled “Your Money.” This is broken down into two categories: “You have” and “You spent.” This provides users with a snapshot of their finances.
Furthermore, you can see an itemized list of all of the money that is coming and going by tapping “Insights -> All Transactions.” In addition, at the top of the Insights page there is a button labeled “See More”. Tapping on this will allow users to see more detailed information concerning their personal finances. This includes various charts that help users visualize their spending habits, a list of upcoming expenses such as utility bills, and the ability to search and view receipts stored in the user’s Gmail and Google Photos accounts.
Note: if you don’t see any data, this is because Google Pay has not had enough time to analyze your spending habits.
The older version of Google Pay provided users with a convenient solution for making payments on the go. With the new and improved Google Pay, users can still make convenient payments, but they can also track their spending, giving users the opportunity to take control of their finances and better budget their money.
You can find the gas stations that accept Google pay easily with maps. In general, almost gas stations receive payment via digital wallet. As long as you see NFC barcode or scanning, the station is definitely capable to accept the Google pay. You can visit Chevron and ExxonMobil stations. Then, check the availability in the Google maps and apps. They provide the right direction where you can spend your money from Google pay for buying gas. The next section will provide more explanation about Google pay and the stores where you can spend the credit.
Google pay is known as the contactless payment where users only need to scan or point out into barcode then the payment is done. This technology is not new because several payments have been implemented the same tech and feature. You can use your phone for paying almost anything. Today, the payment can buy everything because it is more effective and secure. You only need android smartphone and Google pay app. One thing you must know is the smartphone must have NFC or near-field communication. This is the core of contactless payment, such as Google pay. Your phone will connect with nearby device for sending the payment.
The stores and gas stations that accept Google pay
Google enlists several merchants and stores where users can purchase and pay with this system. They include the gas stations that accept Google pay. To know whether the station has this option or not, you can check it in Google application. Usually, the gas stations will put icons including Google pay when they accept this kind of payment. You can see immediately from the outside before filling your tank. Some of them might not be a part of Google pay yet, but it will be available soon as this payment has potential. Few gas stations are private businesses. They only have limited payment method, and Google pay might not be in their list. However, the owner may have another method for using Google pay, such as transfer money directly into the owner wallet.
How to use Google pay
Using this payment is simple and easy. It is digital wallet, which means you must deposit or add the credit card. You can top up the account via available methods, and the money is in the wallet. After that, you just need to use the app for finding Google pay gas station near me.
From the explanation above, you can find the right gas station that receives Google pay as the payment. As usual, Google is the major search engine, and you can use it for finding the right one. That’s what you should know about gas stations that accept Google pay.
Google Pay is the way you can use your smartphone or Wear OS watch to make payments quickly, easily and without having to fumble around for your wallet or purse while you’re stood at the checkout.
It means you can just tap your phone on the contactless reader at the till and not have to worry about using your card or carrying around lots of cash.
The set up process is simple and we’ll use this guide to talk you through how you can do that and then use Google Pay. You need to make sure your phone is compatible as well as having a supported bank before you can start paying with your phone though.
Originally called Android Pay, the payment service was renamed in early 2018 to Google Pay. That saw both Android Pay and Google Wallet combine together, but for you it essentially means more features are available within the app and the name is slightly different.
Android Pay was launched in the US in 2015 and came to the UK and Australia in 2016, but now there are over 15 countries that can now use Google Pay.
Below we’ll talk you through how to set up Google Pay and how to make your first payment too.
1. What phone do you have?
Do you have a phone that has NFC (near-field-communication) support? Do you have Android 4.4 KitKat software or higher? If the answer is yes to both of those questions, then you’ll be able to connect up Google Pay on your new mobile.
It means you won’t need to go out and buy a brand new flagship phone to make use of the contactless payment software. Android KitKat is a fair few years old now and if you’re not running that software it may be worth checking to see if there’s an update.
2. Does your bank support it?
Back when this was called Android Pay, the support of banks is where most faced issues. Now there are lots more banks on the Google Pay service, but you still want to check if your bank and cards are compatible.
Most major US banks support Google Pay now, and here’s the full list so you can check your account is compatible with the service.
In the UK, lots of banks support Google Pay but there are a few notable exceptions you should be aware of. Barclays, for example, doesn’t support Google Pay and instead offers its own service.
You can find a full list of the banks and cards that are support by Google Pay in the UK here. Australia has a more limited list of banks that support Google Pay, and you’ll find them all here.
If your bank isn’t included, be sure to keep an eye out in the coming months as Google is continuously bringing new financial institutions onto the service.
3. Download Google Pay
If you’re on a device running stock Android software, Google Pay may already be ready and waiting on the phone for you to use. You won’t need to download it.
Give your phone a quick search and if you can’t see the app, head into the Google Play Store to download the app directly to your phone.
4. Set up a screen lock
To use Google Pay properly you’ll need to have a lock screen in place on your phone. This means anyone trying to access the device is going to have to enter a pattern, PIN, facial scan or fingerprint scan to be able to access your data.
To set it up, head into the Settings app on your phone and look for either ‘lock screen’ or ‘security’. Then press ‘screen lock type’, find which kind of lock you’d like to use and then set it up from there.
If you have the ability to use a fingerprint scanner, we’d recommend it as that’s something no one can replicate, making your phone that little bit more secure.
5. Add a credit or debit card
Now it’s finally time to actually set up your card, and we’re very close to you being able to spend money from your phone.
If you open up the app you’ll be greeted with a screen that includes your Android sign in and gives you the ability to add a debit or credit card, that can be any kind of card, even a cashback credit card. Just press on the plus sign in the bottom-right and you’ll be taken to choose a card.
If you already have a compatible card linked to your Android account, you can just authorize it for Google Pay here. If your card isn’t linked, just press on the ‘add a card button’.
Your phone will then use the rear camera to pick up your card details. Place it on a table in front of you and line the picture up with the card. It should read the details, but if it doesn’t work be sure to press the ‘add manually’ button and enter the details yourself.
You’ll also need to verify your card, so choose whether to have a verification code emailed to you, or sent to your phone as a text message.
6. Set your default payment card
This is an important step to make sure you’re spending money on the right card. If you only see one card in your Google Pay app, that means it’s your default option already and you can skip this step altogether.
If you’ve added multiple cards though, decide which you’d like to use the most and then open up the Card menu in the app. There you can double tap on the card you want to make a default and press ‘set as default card’.
It’s really simple, but this ensures you’re using the right card when you start spending and don’t rack up a big debt on a card you didn’t realise you were using.
7. Add a gift loyalty program
Bored of having loyalty and reward cards filling up your pockets? Google Pay can help with that as you can attach select shops reward cards to the service. It’ll then remind you to use your card when you enter the shop, you can easily gain points and it sometimes offers exclusive offers too.
In the UK, for example, you can set up your Costa Coffee, Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage, Nando’s, IKEA and many more reward cards within the app so you don’t have to carry them around with you.
To do this, it’s very similar to adding a card like the step above where you press on the button button and press add a loyalty program. You can then can your card or enter the details manually from there.
8. Start spending
You are now all set up and can make a payment with any retailer that has a contactless terminal.
Enter a store of your choice, turn on your smartphone screen and tap it on the reader and you’ll be able to make any payment up to $30 or £30. If you want to make a higher payment, you can just unlock your phone itself and then tap it on the contactless reader.
You’ll get a notification when you’ve paid through the phone, and it should work quickly and simply. Just make sure your phone is on and you’ll be away.
As well as physical retailers, you can also use Google Pay within a variety of apps on your Android phone including Airbnb, Deliveroo, HotelTonight, ASOS and more as well as Google’s own services.
James is Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.
Similar to Apple Pay on iOS devices, you can easily make a payment using Google Pay in the physical stores by holding your Android phone near a compatible payment terminal.
Once you do so, the transaction happens more or less automatically. The process is incredibly convenient.
Here’s how to make sure that Google Pay is set up for in-store purchases, and how to actually make that purchase. Just note that although Google Pay is available on iPhones, you can only use it for in-store purchases on an Android.
How to enable in-store purchases in Google Pay
Once you have the app set up, all you need to do is enable NFC — or “near-field communications” — on your phone. This is what lets it connect to credit card readers in stores.
1. Open the Settings app and tap “Connections,” or “Connection preferences,” depending on your device.
2. Make sure that “NFC and payment” is turned on by swiping the button to the right.
3. You’ll also have to make sure that Google Pay is set as the default payment method on your phone. On some Androids, this option will be located in the “Connection preferences” section. On the “Connection preferences” page, tap “Contactless payments” under “NFC.”
4. Then, select the option for “Payment default: Google Pay.”
On other Android phones, the default payment option may be located in the “Apps & Notifications” section of your Settings app. Open the Settings app, tap “Apps & Notifications,” and select “Default apps.” Then tap “Tap & Pay.” Lastly, set Google Pay as the default app.
How to use Google Pay in a store
When it’s time to pay with your card or contactless payment, you should:
1. Unlock your phone, but you don’t need to open the Google Pay app.
2. Position the back of your phone close to the payment terminal for a few seconds. You might need to experiment a bit, since different terminals put the NFC antenna in different locations, but this will get easier with time as you learn what position works for the payment terminals you commonly use. If the terminal has a wireless or contactless payment symbol on it, try putting the phone near that logo.
3. The Google Pay app should launch automatically, and you may be required to enter your PIN or use the fingerprint reader.
4. After a moment, you should see a check mark appear, indicating that the purchase is complete.
If Google Pay doesn’t start, try repositioning the phone until it does. You might also want to confirm with the cashier that the terminal actually does support Google Pay — some older terminals don’t have contactless payments.
But also keep in mind that just because you don’t see a contactless or wireless logo, it doesn’t mean the terminal won’t support Google Pay.
How to use Google Pay in online stores
When you’re shopping online using your Android phone, you may notice Google Pay as a payment option. If that’s the case. here’s how to use it.
2. Press the Google Pay payment option.
3. Follow the prompts when you’re ready to checkout.
You can also easily send money to others using the Google Pay mobile app. For more information, check out our article, “How to send money through Google Pay using your iPhone or Android.”