How Google Pay works: what you need to know

This guide explains how Google Pay works, showing you what the service is, which payment cards are accepted, and how to set up the device for its use. There is a procedure to follow to make payments both online and in apps or physical stores.

What is Google Pay?

Google Pay is a payment system that allows you to make purchases of goods and services using your smartphone or smartwatch. It can be used to pay on e-commerce sites or applications. If you have a compatible device, it also allows you to make payments in physical stores, through the contactless system at the point of sale. In other words, with Google Pay, you can pay with your card without having to physically use it. However, not all devices are supported yet. The service was launched in 2015 as Android Pay. In 2017, it was merged with Google Wallet to create Google Pay. In terms of security, the payment card data is saved in the Google account through a state-of-the-art encryption system that also relies on HTTPS and TLS. In addition, when payment is made via a point of sale in a physical store, the card data is not transmitted in plain text, but is encrypted, without the card number or other sensitive data being shown to the merchant. And if you lose your device, no problem: just use the "Find My Android Device" service to remotely delete any data. This limits any risk of unauthorized use of your cards.

Authorized banks and partners

On Google Pay, you can register any payment card you have, but only a few are enabled for point-of-sale payments. If your card is not supported for point-of-sale payments, you can register the card you have without any restrictions for online purchases on Google Pay, if it is part of the Visa, Mastercard or American Express circuit.

How do I use Google Pay?

To use Google Pay services, you need a payment card (credit, debit or prepaid) belonging to accepted channels, a Google account and a device compatible with the service's app. Currently, the app is supported on devices with Android 5.0 or higher and those with iOS 9.0 or higher. It can also be used via the web, from a PC, to make online payments. If you want to make payments in physical stores via a point of sale, you need a smartphone or smartwatch with NFC technology. This is a system that allows two devices to communicate wirelessly over short distances. To make payments, the user must bring the mobile device closer to the point of sale so that the NFC technology can transmit the payment data in encrypted form so that the system can authorize the transaction. That said, you will need to download the NFC payment management application.

Download the application and install it on smartphones and smartwatches

To manage your registered cards and make point-of-sale payments, you need to download the Google Pay app from the Android Play Store. Unfortunately Google Pay is only available on iOS in the US. To download it, search for it on the Apple Store and press Install. Wait for the download and installation to finish and tap Open. When you launch the app, you will be asked to select your Google account from the ones configured on your device. Now tap on the icon with the down arrow symbol and, in the pop-up menu. Select the Google account where you want to set up the payment method for Google Pay. When you tap on the Manage Accounts icon, you will open the Android settings panel to add or remove an account. After selecting the Google account you want to use, tap Start. Tap Add Map. You'll need to fill in the following fields with information about the card you want to add. Enter the card number in the Card number field and those for the expiration date and CVC (located on the back of the card). You can also press the blue icon next to it and bring the card closer to your smartphone so that it can automatically read the card number and expiration date. Next, fill in the following billing address fields with your full name, country, home address and phone number. Finally, scroll down to the end of the user agreement and press Register to register your credit card. At this point, a screen will show you where you can use your card. If you're told you can't use Google Pay in stores, it means your card isn't supported or for security reasons your device can't be enabled for NFC payments. Then press OK to start using the app. You will be asked to access certain permissions on your device, which you will need to accept. If you want to add more cards later, launch the Google Pay app and tap the Payment tab at the bottom of the main screen. By tapping on Payment Method, you can add more cards. It is recommended to enable NFC on your smartphone to use Google Pay for point-of-sale payments. Go to Android settings by tapping on the icon with a gear symbol on the home screen. Now tap on Device Connection > NFC and move the toggle switch from OFF to ON. If you have a smartwatch, you can download Google Pay from the Android Play Store dedicated to WearOS. Then, launch the Play Store app on your smartwatch and tap the Search icon at the top. Then type the term "google pay" and tap on the corresponding search result. Finally, tap Install to start downloading and installing the app. After downloading it, launch the application and tap on "Set". If you haven't already done so, you'll be prompted to enable NFC by tapping Settings on the displayed screen. You will see the settings panel where you will need to move the toggle switch from OFF to ON. Now go back to the app to continue your setup. The Google Pay app, for security reasons, cannot work if a lock code has not been enabled on the dialing screen to prevent the use of this service by malicious people. Press Continue and choose between Sequence, PIN or Password. Once you've set it up, return to the app and follow the instructions displayed, which will prompt you to accept the requests displayed on your smartphone's Google Pay app. Once the process is complete, your smartwatch will return a properly configured message, ready to be used for NFC payments via POS.

How to install Google Pay on your computer?

A payment method can also be added via a web browser from a computer. To do this, simply log in to the Google Pay website and sign in via the same account you use on your smartphone. Now tap on the Payment Methods item in the left sidebar and tap on Add Payment Method. The procedure to follow is similar to that for the Google Pay app. In short, enter your card details in the requested fields and provide a billing address. Now press "Save" to save your payment method.
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