Google Pay: How to use it, pros and cons, is it safe?

Google Pay: How to use it, pros and cons, is it safe?
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A mobile phone displaying the Google Pay logo sits on top of an open notebook.
Google Pay is a payment platform that connects to your Google account and uses your existing credit or debit cards to make payments.

  • Google Pay is a digital payment platform that uses your credit and debit cards to make purchases.
  • You can use Google Pay with the Google Pay or Google Wallet app.
  • Google Pay is safe, due to tokenized transactions and your phone’s passcode and facial or touch ID.

Google Pay is Google’s digital payment service that you can use to make mobile payments using your phone, watch or tablet. It’s connected to your Google account and lets you securely use your existing credit cards to pay for purchases at stores or online. 

And while Google Pay is the name of the payment platform, you have a choice of which app you want to use to actually make mobile payments — Google Pay or Google Wallet. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced Google Pay’s redesign in 2020, saying the app made it “simpler to pay securely, organize finances, save money + more.”

Here’s everything you need to know about using Google Pay.   

Getting started with Google Pay

To get started with Google Pay, you need to install either the Google Pay or Google Wallet app. Android users should choose Google Wallet; it offers a lot of additional features, such as the ability to store ID cards, loyalty cards, event tickets and passes, transit cards, and more. Not unlike Apple Wallet on iOS devices, it’s a convenient way to store almost anything you’d carry in a traditional wallet right within your mobile device. 

Google Pay, on the other hand, is focused exclusively on letting you make mobile payments. The Google Pay app is being discontinued on June 4, 2024, so you should probably just go directly to the more useful Google Wallet. That said, Google Wallet isn’t yet available for iOS users. So for now, if you have an iPhone, you need to stick with the Google Pay app.

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How to use Google Pay

A screenshot of the Google Pay mobile app shows a button titled "Add an account" that users can click to add payment methods.

After installing Google Pay or Google Wallet, you need to log into your Google account and then add one or more payment methods, like a credit or debit card. 

Once you’ve added at least one card to your Google Pay account, you can make mobile payments in stores. At the store’s checkout, look for signs that the terminal accepts Google Pay or tap-to-pay credit cards. Then unlock your phone, hold it near the payment symbol, and wait for the confirmation that the payment has been made — you don’t even have to start the app.  

If you have more than one payment method set up in Google Wallet, you can choose which one to use at checkout. To do that, start the app when you reach the checkout and swipe through the cards until you reach the one you want to use. Then hold the phone to the payment terminal as usual to complete the transaction. 

You can also use Google Pay to scan barcodes and QR codes — the app uses Google lens, and you can use it to look up price information or make an online payment.

You can also allow people to search and find you in Google Pay to pay you — and you, in turn, can search for people or businesses with a Google Business Profile.

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Google Pay is free

The good news is that Google Pay is free to use. The Google Pay and Google Wallet apps are free to download, and there’s no subscription or service fee to use the service to make mobile payments. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean that purchases you make with Google Pay are completely free. Google Pay lets you make payments through your credit cards, debit cards, and bank accounts, so if you would ordinarily pay interest or a fee when using a card, you’ll still pay that fee when using it through Google Pay. You simply won’t pay anything additional for the privilege of using Google Pay.

Google Pay is safe

Surprisingly, Google Pay is safer and more secure than using a credit card, and for a number of reasons. First and foremost: Google Pay purchases are tokenized, which means that the service sends your credit information using a unique code for each purchase. If the information could be intercepted, it would not be useful to a thief or hacker, because your credit card information isn’t present. 

Perhaps even more important, though, is the physical security that Google Pay offers. If your actual credit card is lost or stolen, it can potentially be used to make purchases, at least until you notify the credit company and cancel the card. But when using Google Pay on your phone, your credit card information is protected behind a passcode or biometrics like facial recognition. 

The pros and cons of using Google Pay

A woman holds her smartphone up to a payment reader to make a contactless payment.
Not all retailers accept Google Pay. Small businesses and independent stores may still require your physical credit or debit card.

One advantage of Google Pay is that it’s integrated with a number of other popular Google products. For instance, Google Flights offers a price guarantee where Google will pay you the difference if the price of your flight drops after you book it — you just have to have a Google Pay account.

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The bottom line is that there are both pros and cons to using Google Pay. Not only is Google Pay a safe and secure payment system, but it’s broadly compatible with many retail stores — just look for the Google Pay or tap-to-pay symbol at checkout. And via the Google Wallet app, Google Pay does a lot more, letting you store transit cards and boarding passes, loyalty cards, and more all in one place. 

Even so, there are some disadvantages to Google Pay as well. As pervasive as Google Pay is at retailers, especially in large cities, it’s far from ubiquitous. Especially in smaller locales and at independent stores, you might have trouble using Google Pay to make purchases. That means you still need to carry a physical credit card, at least as a backup, which can defeat the purpose of using Google Pay to begin with. 

With the forthcoming end of the Google Pay app, Google is also leaving Apple users out in the cold. That means Google Pay could be an Android-only service starting in June 2024, unless Google releases a Google Wallet app for the iPhone. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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