What Is Google Pay? Banks and Phones That Accept It

These days, instead of swiping or inserting credit cards, you’ll often see people holding their mobile device over the POS terminal. This type of payment is called an NFC or “contactless” payment, much like your credit or debit card may be contactless, and uses near field communication to transmit information from a mobile device to a payments reader.

In addition to chip and PIN cards, mobile payments are part of our change toward more secure, authenticated ways to pay. As opposed to magstripe cards (which are prone to fraud), NFC payments have multiple layers of security involved in the transaction, designed to protect bank details. NFC mobile payments are also the fastest way to pay. The transaction time is super-fast, unlike credit card transactions, which can take several seconds (chip and PIN cards, in fact, are noticeably sluggish).

Google Pay is Google’s mobile wallet technology and one of the more popular NFC mobile payment apps. (Other popular examples of mobile wallets include Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.)

Here is everything you need to know about Google Pay:

What is Google Pay?

Google Pay, formerly known as Android Pay, was initially released on 11 September 2015. It was developed by Google to enable in-app, online and in-person contactless purchases on Android phones, tablets and watches. On 8 January 2018 Android Pay was renamed Google Pay.

Who accepts Google Pay

To accept Google Pay, businesses need an NFC-enabled credit card reader.

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Google Pay compatible phones

Google Pay is compatible with most newer versions of Android phones. The Square Reader works with most Android devices running Google Android 5.0 or later, have location services enabled and have access to Google Play. You can check to see which devices the Square contactless and chip reader supports here.

How do I set up Google Pay?

Make sure your phone’s Android version is Lollipop (5.0) or higher.

  1. Download the app from Google Play.
  2. Open the Google Pay app and follow the instructions.
  3. When you’re asked, add a card.
  4. If asked, set up a screen lock on your Android device. Google Pay works with fingerprint, password, PIN, pattern or retinae scanning screen locks. It doesn’t work with facial recognition or screen locks such as Knock to Unlock or Smart Unlock.
  5. To make store purchases, ensure your device meets software standards, has NFC and NFC is turned on. Your smartphone must also have HCE.
  6. To start accepting Google Pay at your store, you can order the Square Reader. It works directly with your Android device, so setup is simple. Learn more about how to start accepting NFC contactless payments.

Banks that accept Google Pay

You can use the following bank accounts with Google Pay:

  • Santander
  • Lloyds
  • First Direct
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • HSBC
  • Halifax
  • The Co-Operative Bank
  • Revolut
  • Monzo
  • Nationwide
  • American Express
  • NatWest
  • Starling
  • TSB

The Google Pay website has a full list of banks that accept the payment method.

Users of Square Terminal, Square Reader and Square Stand can accept Google Pay in the same way they would a normal contactless card. There are no extra settings that need enabling.

To take a payment with the Square Reader:

  1. Make sure your reader is connected with your device.

  2. Open the Square app, enter a custom amount or item and tap Charge.

  3. When you see one green light on the reader, it is ready to take your customer’s payment. Ask your customer to hold their phone over the reader to complete the sale.

To take a payment with the Square Terminal

  1. Make sure your Terminal is connected to a network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet

  2. Enter a custom amount or select an item and tap Charge.

  3. Ask your customer to hold their mobile device near the contactless symbol in the centre of the screen to accept the payment.

How do I use Google Pay?

To pay with Google Pay, just open the app on your phone (which requires you to have a secure lock screen) and complete the transaction by holding your device over the payment reader. The transaction is completed in just a few seconds.

Is Google Pay safe?

Mobile wallet payments like Google Pay are much more secure than magnetic-stripe cards, and they’re also more convenient. Instead of carrying a physical wallet, you just need your smartphone. As opposed to EMV, or chip and PIN card, transactions, which tend to lag, contactless payments take just a few seconds to process. Once you make a purchase, a payment confirmation appears on your phone noting where the transaction occurred, plus the merchant’s name and number.

This makes it easy to catch any fraudulent charges. And in cases of loss or theft, you can lock your device with Find My Device, which also allows you to change the password and delete your personal information.

Google Pay vs. Apple Pay

Apple Pay is Apple’s mobile payment app, meaning it won’t work on Android devices. You need an iPhone 6 or newer model or an Apple Watch to use Apple Pay.

Both Apple Pay and Google Pay use NFC (near field communication) technology to process transactions. To pay for something via Google Pay you hover (or “tap”) your Android phone above the NFC-enabled payments reader while your finger is on the home button. With Apple Pay this is done via the “Touch ID” button on iPhones, or is triggered via “Face ID” on other iPhone models. The payment is then triggered automatically. You can use both Google Pay and Apple Pay to make online payments within apps.

Google Pay vs. Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay works on newer versions of Samsung Galaxy devices. Samsung Pay also works on NFC contactless readers. As opposed to Google Pay and Apple Pay, to trigger an NFC contactless payment with Samsung Pay, you swipe up from the home screen. At this point, you can’t use Samsung Pay to make online payments within apps.