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Google Pay Guide

Everything you need to know about Google Pay

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 28 April 2021

Holding mobile phone over contactless card reader to pay using Android Pay

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Google Pay is a free mobile payment system from Google that allows people to make purchases using their NFC-enabled smartphones, both in person and via apps and websites.

Formerly called Google Wallet, it merged with Android Pay in January 2018 to form Google Pay.

What can I use Google Pay for?

Google Pay can be used to buy a wide range of items and services. You can use the tap-and-pay function wherever contactless payments are accepted – so, shops, restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, and the Transport for London network.

You can also use it on apps and websites that display the Google Pay logo – just choose Google Pay as your preferred payment method when you come to pay.

There’s no limit on the value of Google Pay transactions, and there are no fees to download the app or use it to make payments. However, many shops and businesses will limit the amount you can pay without entering a PIN or using fingerprint recognition to the contactless payment limit.

In the US, Google Pay can also be used to send money to and receive it from friends and family.

What do you need to use Google Pay?

To use Google Pay, you’ll need to download the Google Pay app on to your device – for which you’ll need a Google account. Then all you have to do is add a payment method such as a credit card, a debit card, or a PayPal account, and you can start making purchases using the service. 

Is Google Pay safe?

Google Pay transactions are secured in several ways. These include that:                

  • A virtual account number is created for every transaction made
  • You have to unlock your screen lock for each purchase

Google also keeps all your payment information on secure servers, meaning your full card or account details are never stored on your phone or shared with the businesses to which you make payments (that’s what the virtual account number is for).

If your phone is lost or stolen, you can also use Google Device Manager to instantly lock it from any location, secure it with a new password or wipe it clean of personal data.

What banks support Google Pay?

Banks and card providers that support Google Pay include:

  • American Express
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Citibank
  • Clydesdale Bank
  • Coutts
  • First Direct
  • First Trust Bank
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • Isle of man Bank
  • Lloyds Bank
  • MBNA
  • Metro Bank
  • M&S Bank
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • NatWest
  • Revolut
  • TSB
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Santander
  • Starling Bank
  • The Co-operative Bank
  • Ulster Bank
  • Yorkshire Bank

Barclays does not support Google Pay. It has launched its own payment app called Contactless Mobile.

Click here for a full list of Google Pay card providers in the UK.

What’s the difference between Google Pay and Apple Pay?

Google Pay and Apple Pay are very similar offerings. Which one is right for you will largely depend on the type of smartphone or device you want to use to make payments. 

 

Apple Pay

Google Pay

Devices

All iPhone models with face or touch ID (except the iPhone 5s). All iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, and iPad mini models with Touch ID or Face ID. Mac models with touch ID, as well as those introduced in 2012 or later with an Apple Pay-enabled iPhone or Apple Watch.

Any Google device with NFC technology running Google 4.4 KitKat or above..

Wearable devices

Apple Watch 1st Generation, Series 1, Series 2 or later.

Any NFC-enabled smartwatch.

Participating banks

All of the major banks.

Most major banks, but not Barclays..

Fingerprint authentication

Yes

Yes

Contactless payments

Wherever the contactless payment logo is displayed: up to £45.

Wherever the contactless payment logo is displayed: up to £45 (or more with further verification).

Transport for London

Yes

Yes

In-app payments

Wherever the Apple Pay logo is displayed.

Wherever the Google Pay logo is displayed.

Web payments

Wherever the Apple Pay logo is displayed.

Wherever the Google Pay logo is displayed.

App

Built-in Wallet app.

Google Pay from Google’s Play Store.

Account required

Apple

Google

Can be disabled remotely

Yes

Yes

 

For more information about making contactless transactions using credit and debit cards, take a look at our comprehensive guides to contactless payments and credit card security. MoneySuperMarket can also make it easy to find the right card to buy items and services both in person and online by allowing you to compare credit cards from a broad range of providers.

MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker not a lender. You must be 18 or over and a UK resident.

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