The entire point of Google Pay (formerly called Android Pay) is not having to fumble around while presenting your payment in the checkout line (although it is also very handy online and within apps as well). Instead it sometimes turns out to be even more cumbersome to troubleshoot the Google Pay app.
Fortunately for you, we’ve put together this guide to how to fix Android Pay that’s not working.
There can be several reasons why the Google Pay transaction didn’t go as planned, and we did our best to account for as many scenarios as possible. This has resulted in a whole slew of solutions for you to try.
If your device is rooted, we do have some tricks up our sleeve. However, keep in mind that for every loophole there’s a patch. It’s usually a race between those trying to get around Google Pay’s security and those trying to enforce it. If a method doesn’t help you use Google Pay on your rooted device, you may have to try other workarounds.
We’re in this together though, so let’s get to it.
Problem 1: Unresponsive Google/Android Pay
You tap your phone, but no one at Google Pay seems to be home.
Give it Time
Although we want everything to be instantaneous, it can take several seconds for your phone to connect to the terminal. You’ll know the connection is made when a green check mark appears on your screen.
Unlock Your Device
While there’s no need to open the Google Pay app, you do need to wake up your phone and unlock it.
Reposition Your Phone
There can be some variability between devices as to where the NFC antenna (responsible for establishing the connection) is located. It could be at the top or the bottom, so make sure to try both ends.
Set Google Pay as Default
If you have more than one payment app installed on your device (i.e. Samsung Pay), ensure that Google Pay is set as default. To adjust this, go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > Default apps > Tap & pay > Payment default.
Confirm Terminal Accepts Google Pay
Some store terminals aren’t configured to accept mobile payments. The cashier will likely know if the one you are trying to use doesn’t.
Problem 2: Issues after Marshmallow/Nougat/Oreo Update
Some users have experienced problems after receiving software updates, whether they were received OTA or by side loading.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes the remedy for a faulty update is another update. If it isn’t available over-the-air (which you can check by going to Settings > About Device > System Updates > Check for Update) you might have to sideload any new available update your carrier hasn’t yet provided.
Avoid Having Multiple Users
Assign only one user per account.
Clear Google Pay Cache
Go to Settings > Apps > Google Pay > Storage and tap Clear Cache.
Ensure NFC is ON/Payment default is Google Pay
Double check to ensure NFC is toggled to an ON position, and go to Settings > Tap & pay > Payment default. This step is imperative when it comes to fixing Android/Google Pay that isn’t working.
Downgrade Your Upgrade
Google Pay notoriously does not always play well with Betas or even full updates. You may be better off going back to the previous version of your operating system. If you do, you might also want to factory reset your device just to alleviate problems with apps crashing. However, keep in mind that a factory reset will set you back to your phone as it was out-of-the-box, so you might want to backup your data first.
Problem 3: Error Message: Google Pay Can’t be Used on this Device
Most commonly you are receiving this message because you are trying to use Google Pay on a rooted device. To sum things up, root access will have to be hidden or removed, and you will need to be using a stock ROM.
Magisk has a systemless interface and allows root to be toggled on and off. It won’t work for you to have both Magisk and SuperSU installed. You’ll need to pick one.
To install, boot your phone into recovery mode (using a custom recovery like TWRP) and flash the Magisk file. Afterward, Magisk will be available amongst your apps. Once you open it, go to Settings > Magisk Hide to mask root while you use Google Pay. Ensure Google Pay has been checked, and then add the module for Safety Net checking. Additionally, you can remove Xposed and reinstall using Magisk’s systemless version.
Disable Root from SuperSU
Go to Settings and uncheck the Enable Superuser option.
Flash your phone back to its factory image. This can also help if you have a custom ROM.
Use Xposed Module: No Device Check
When Google Pay checks the status of your device, this Xposed module returns a message that your phone is not rooted. The first step is to install the Xposed Framework on your device. Find No Device Check in Modules and install No Device Check. Enable it. Reset it as a default app for Google Pay via the menu. Reboot.
Download: No Device Check
Use Xposed Module: RootCloak
RootCloak hides your device’s rooted status. In order to use it, you will first have to install the Xposed Framework on your device. You can then locate and install the RootCloak module and enable it. Reset it as a default app for Google Pay via the menu. Reboot. Newer OS may not be supported.
Go to Settings > Apps > Banking App > Storage and tap Clear Cache.
Problem 4: Unrooted Device is Failing Safety Check
Everyone assumes that you receive this message when you have rooted, but that’s not always the case. Another reason that your device might be receiving the same errors as rooted devices is if it fails to comply with the CTS (Compatibility Test Suite) verifier. Some foreign devices and even some batteries are not CTS compatible.
Check for Malware
Both malware and spyware can register as rooting when you try to install, and Google Pay won’t install and/or work for security reasons. You’ll want it off your phone anyway, but it’s also a way to fix Android/Google Pay that isn’t working.
This might work if you are using a cheap battery that is not CTS compatible. Some batteries don’t have the necessary NFC chip.
It can be tricky to align the NFC antenna on certain devices, like the Note 4. Try holding it horizontally.
Ask the Cashier to Select Credit Card
It’s worth a shot to recruit your cashier’s help.
Ask Carrier/Manufacturer to Replace Defective Device
Google Pay doesn’t work with every device. But if it should, pursue the issue with your carrier/manufacturer. There have been a few instances, on devices such as the Note 8, missing the embedded security elements within the NFC and safety settings. You can check this on the your Samsung Note 8 by going to Settings > Connections > NFC & payment > Tap & pay.
Are You Sure?
Even if you didn’t root or customize your device, some phones may come that way. For example, if you have a Freedompop device, you might check for an app called SuperSU. If you have it, try disabling the Superuser function.
Problem 5: Google Pay was Working, but not Anymore
It’s one thing to have some hiccups when first trying to switch to Google Pay, but to have been using it and suddenly you can’t? Seriously, Google, seriously?
Uninstall, then Reinstall All Google Play Services Updates
Uninstall any recent Google Play Services updates, if it gives you the option. Relaunch Google Pay, and you should be prompted to update to the latest version of Google Play Services.
Narrow it Down
To determine which app it could be (or if this is the problem at all) try going into Safe Mode. Safe Mode only uses those apps that come with your phone without loading any of the third-party software that could be causing the issue. To go into Safe Mode, first press the Power key, then long-press the Power Off option. Tap OK and the phone will reboot. The words Safe Mode should appear in the lower-left of your screen. If you do not experience the restarting problem in Safe Mode, try uninstalling any third-party app, one-at-a-time, that you think might be the culprit.
Ensure NFC is ON
If somehow NFC got turned off, turn it back on now.
This is going to wipe everything and start from scratch. To start with a clean slate, go into Recovery Mode. Choose Factory Reset/Wipe Data by selecting the option using the Volume Down key and confirming your choice by pressing the Volume Up key.
Problem 6: For Error: Unfortunately Android Pay has Stopped
The good news is that you likely don’t have a compatibility issue. The bad news is that you probably still have an operations issue.
Delete App/System Data/Cache
You can start small by deleting the data/cache for just Google Pay or take a more comprehensive approach. To go all out, go to Settings > Storage > Cached data, or click on the storage for just the app to take a more localized route.
Send Feedback to Google Pay
Reach out to a support specialist, who by and large are pretty good at their jobs. It shouldn’t all be on you to fix Android/Google Pay that’s not working.
It’s no one’s favorite, and you’ll want to back everything up first. But if you are ready to take the plunge, keep in mind that different phones have different paths. For instance, if you own a Samsung, you’ll go to Settings > General management > Reset > Factory data reset.
Problem 7: Is it Really Your Device?
Some unlicensed devices and even some batteries are not CTS compatible. However, there have been instances when Nexus owners have purchased their device directly from Google and experienced the same issues. In that case, get it back to Google to solve. An unlocked bootloader can also make Google Pay pretty difficult to use.
This might work if you are using a really cheap battery.
It can be tricky to align the NFC antenna on certain devices, such as the Note 4. Try holding it horizontally. This Samsung site lays it out by device.
Ask Cashier for Help
This is a two-way process. If your device vibrates and you get a green checkmark, try asking the cashier to select Credit Card.
Use ADB to Lock Bootloader
Android Debug Bridge can be used to reboot and put the original equipment manufacturer’s lock back on your device.
Ask Carrier/Manufacturer to Repair/Replace Defective Device
There have been a few cases, on devices such as the Note 8, where some units shipped out from the factory missing the embedded secure element in the NFC & Safety settings. You can check this on your Samsung Note 8 by going to Settings > Connections > NFC & Payment > Tap & Pay.
Problem 8: Other Odds & Ends
For card conundrums and more, here are some other fixes to try when nothing else has worked.
Contact Card Issuer
Check in to ensure everything’s okay, and perhaps have them disable/enable your card.
Hit Up Best Buy
This can be a cheap and easy way to get some tech support.
Unroot, Activate Google Pay, Reroot
Google Pay isn’t supported on rooted devices, so remove it long enough to gain some support. Have your cake and eat it too.
Clear Cache & Data of Google Play Services
No, that’s not a typo. We’re not talking about the Google Pay app here. We’re talking about Google Play Services.
Check for System Updates
Go to Settings > About device > System updates > Check for update. You’ll find everything pretty straightforward and aptly named.
Uninstall & Reinstall Google Pay
If Google Pay came pre-installed you aren’t going to have much luck here. You’ll only be able to disable, then re-enable. Unless you root. Then you can do what you want.
Verify Names Match
Ensure you have entered your name in Google Pay exactly as it reads on your card.
Use PIN Lock Instead of Fingerprint
Fingerprint is actually more secure than a PIN, but in some cases causes more issues.
On Android Wear: Reboot Your Paired Device
And rebooting your Wear device isn’t a bad idea either.
On Android Wear: Ensure Bluetooth is Enabled on Paired Device
You might find it via Settings > Connections.
How Did it Go?
It can be very frustrating when things don’t work as intended. Google makes it clear that it doesn’t intend to support rooted devices, and such workarounds are being patched all the time. However, those that are the type to root their devices also tend to use a lot of ingenuity, and it’s often a game of cat and mouse.
Did you gain any insights? Experience any additional problems? Have any solutions you think others could benefit from? Tell us about them in the comment section.