Google Pay is designed to enable its users to pay using their compatible Android phones, watches or tablets. It’s an online payment system and digital wallet rolled into one. But is it really as convenient, fast and safe as it claims to be? Let’s find out through this Google Pay review.
But before anything else, here’s a general impression of Google Pay. It lets users enjoy the benefits of using a card (credit, debit, gift card, etc.), but without actually using the physical card. No need to reach for your wallet and swipe the card at the POS terminal. You don’t even have to bring your wallet. As long as you have already connected a compatible card on your device, then you’re good to go. Pay through your Android device at the contactless terminal.
Basically, in order to use Google Pay, all you need to do is download the app, sign in to your account (Google account), and then set up a preferred payment method. Read more on how to use Google Pay in detail here.
In general, Google Pay works like other mobile payment apps. But what makes it different from the other apps like Samsung Pay? We won’t make a point-by-point comparison in this Google Pay review, but we’ll get to know it better: its features, advantages, disadvantages, why you should use it and why should not, and everything else in between.
Key Features of Google Pay
Google Pay is a wallet-free way of shopping. With this app, you can make in-store, in-app and online purchases. But it’s more than just a means to pay. It also allows you to send money to your friends. Check out the key features of Google Pay below.
- Supported by major banks in the US and other countries.
- Available in 28 countries.
- Google Pay is integrated with several mobile banking apps across the globe.
- Use for in-store, in-app and online payments.
- Accepted in over a million stores that accept NFC payment.
- Save and use mobile even tickets, boarding passes, and transit cards.
- Multiple layers of advanced security to prevent fraud and malicious attempts.
- Send money or request for cash in the app.
- Transfer money to your bank account without having to cash out.
- Easy online integration with Google Pay API.
- Easy checkouts, which can lead to higher cart conversion and increased sales.
- Better brand affinity, traffic and customer engagement.
- No extra fees required.
- Enhanced security against exposure to fraud.
If you don’t have Google Pay on your device yet, you can download it here.
Advantages of Using Google Pay
There are lots of reasons why you should use Google Pay, especially if you’re looking for an alternative way to pay. With Google Pay, you don’t have to pull out your cards or money from your wallet. No need for any of that. Pay directly through your phone. It’s as convenient as that.
Now here are some of the main benefits and advantages of using Google Pay:
1. Major Bank Support
Google Pay is supported by all the 4 major banks in the US; namely, Citibank, Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.
Mastercard, American Express, Discover and Visa also support Google Pay. Moreover, through strategic partnerships, sites that support Masterpass and Visa Checkout now also work with Google Pay.
Other banks and credit unions that support this app include the following: American Express, Barclays, Capital One, Discover, PNC, D Bank, US Bank, and USAA. You can check out all the participating banks here. There are hundreds of them.
2. Mobile Banking App Integration
Google Pay makes it easier for users to add cards to the app. Thanks to their integration system. They have partnered with several banking apps so that users will be able to add their cards to the app by simply tapping a button. Fast and easy.
However, this banking app integration feature is only limited to a few participating banks such as mBank, Bank of New Zealand, USAA, Bank of America, and Discover.
3. In-App and Online Purchases
Google Pay is used primarily in stores. But you can also use it for making in-app purchases. Some of the apps that support in-app and online purchases, at the moment, include the following:
- Thrive Market
- 1-800 Flowers
- Blue Apron
- Hotel Tonight
- Jimmy John’s
- Rue La La
If you’re not sure if the app you’re using support in-app purchases via Google Pay, don’t worry. A prompt for Google Pay will automatically appear if the app supports the service.
4. Boarding Passes and Tickets
Avoid the hassle of fumbling through your bag or purse to search for your plane or train tickets. Google Pay lets you store a digital ticket or boarding pass on your phone.
There are 2 ways to store tickets or passes in Google Pay. First, select the “send ticket to my phone option.” Second, select the same option through email. Once you have stored your digital tickets or passes, you can easily access them by simply tapping the Passes tab.
There are not that many companies that support this feature though. Some of participating companies include Singapore Airlines, FortessGB, Eventbrite, Southwest, and Ticketmaster.
5. Enhanced Security
Google Pay provides layers upon layers of security to protect users from theft and fraudulent transactions.
The app does not store your card’s number. It won’t appear on your device or in any of the apps, websites or terminals you’ve transacted with. The cards also come with a secure encryption technology designed to protect your confidential data from being compromised.
If you’re worried that your account will be compromised when your phone gets lost, you can always instantly lock access to your device or wipe clean any confidential information by using the Android Device Manager. In case there’s a proven unauthorized transaction, you’ll have zero liability.
Another concern is the accidental payment. Since you’ll be paying through a contactless terminal, you’re worried that you might accidentally pay for another customer’s purchases. This won’t likely happen because your device needs to be within 4cm from the card reader in order for you to successfully purchase an item.
Moreover, you are required to enter your PIN at the POS terminal when the item you purchase exceeds $100. Also, if you are worried that you will accidentally tap your device twice, you will only be billed once. This is because each transaction has a unique code.
6. Availability in Various Countries
As of this writing, you can use Google Pay in 29 countries for making in-app and contactless purchases, provided that you’re using a compatible device and cards. These are the countries that support Google Pay:
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
However, not all Google Pay features are available to all these countries. Some features only work in selected places.
For instance, you can only use Google Pay’s bus and train ticket payment feature in the US, UK, Ukraine, Canada, Australia, Russia, Singapore, and Japan. It’s also important to note that it does not work with all transit systems.
The send money to friends feature is also only available in 3 countries: the US, UK (web only), and India.
Disadvantages of Using Google Pay
Google Play is fast, secure and widely accepted. When you’ve successfully used it many times, you’d feel like not wanting to go back to card swiping or paying through cash again. You’d be tempted to say, “why bring my wallet when I can easily use my phone?”
But no matter how great Google Play is, it’s not without obvious flaws. The truth is, you can’t rely on Google Pay all the time. There are times when you’d have no other choice but to use your card or pay cash.
Like other mobile payment apps, Google Pay suffers from the following disadvantages:
1. It’s not always accepted
Let’s face it. Not all stores who accept digital payments trust mobile payment. Some store owners are still wary of it.
Google Pay is now widely accepted by major stores and retailers. But smaller retailers likely won’t accept it. Even if the store uses an NFC POS terminal, it’s not always a guarantee that it will accept Google Pay.
The store’s terminal is compatible with Google Pay, yes. But whether the owner or the management will allow it is another story.
2. It’s not invincible
Despite the multilayers of security features that Google Pay has, it’s still not invincible. You can’t say that you’re 100% safe and secure from any privacy concerns.
It’s true that your actual card number or any of your personal information will not be shared by Google Pay to anyone. They are kept safe and private. But a transaction leaves a record, and such record is not totally safe from privacy intruders. Some users even express concerns about hackers.
Again, it’s secure. But it’s not invincible.
3. Limited only to NFC technology
The problem with Google Pay is that it only works on NFC technology. It does not work on MST terminals. This means that you can only use this service at stores that have NFC POS terminals.
Also, not all phones can handle NFC payment. So aside from the store, you also need to consider the device that you’re using.
4. All transactions are tied to your device
You can’t always rely on your device for payment. What if you need to buy something really important but your phone or watch got lost and you didn’t bring your cards with you? What if you’re suddenly out of luck and your battery dies right before you can purchase the item?
With Google Pay, you’re too dependent on your device. Everything’s there. This is one reason why you can’t always go card-free or cashless. It’s still safer if you’d bring your wallet with you. Just in case.
Is Google Pay for You?
If you are the kind of person who loves doing transactions through their phone, then Google Pay is definitely for you. Just make sure that you’re using an NFC-enabled Android device and that you’re using Google Pay-compatible cards. Be sure to check if Google Pay is accepted in the country you live in.
However, if you don’t do many transactions online or through your phone or if you live in a place where there aren’t that many stores who accept mobile payment, then Google Pay may not come that handy for you.
It all boils down to these things: your device, where you live, the cards you’re using, and your personal preferences.
OnePlus 6T – $509.99
Don’t have an NFC-enabled phone? Check out the OnePlus 6T. You can’t only use it for Google Pay transactions, you can also enjoy its premium features, with a focus on speed and smooth functionality.
- 16 + 20MP dual cameras
- Nightscape technology
- In-screen fingerprint sensor
- 6.41-inch AMOLED display
- Octa Core processor
Fossil Gen 3 Explorist – $179.00
If you’re also looking for an NFC-enabled smartwatch, we recommend the Fossil Gen 3 Explorist. Compatible with Android and featuring a Google design, this watch is definitely great for making Google Pay transactions.
- Powered with Google’s Wear OS
- Compatible with Android
- Stainless steel case and dark brown leather band
- Dust and water resistant
What People Ask About Google Pay
Are Google Pay and Android Pay the same?
Yes. They are the same in the sense that Google Pay now replaces Android Pay. There used to be Android Pay and Google Wallet. But these formerly separate apps are now unified into one app, which is Google Pay.
Can Google Pay use Paypal?
Yes. Just add your PayPal account to Google Pay. To do this, just to the app’s new payment method and select “add other payment options.”
How does Google Pay Gold Vault work?
Google Pay Gold Vault allows you to digitally buy, sell and store gold (MMTC-PAMP) using existing payment methods. Every transaction appears in your Gold Vault. Prices are kept up-to-date and are displayed on your Google Pay app.
Despite the many great features that Google Pay provides, it’s not a perfect app. It does not provide all the solutions you need. As we said, it may be a fast and secure way to pay, but it’s not without flaws.
You can’t always rely on Google Pay because there are times when you have to purchase items from stores or websites that don’t support this service. Even when the store has an NFC POS terminal, there’s still a chance that the store won’t still allow mobile payment.
So can you really go cashless and cardless all the time? The answer is no. While you can enjoy the benefits of Google Pay, you’d still need plan B, especially if you’re not so sure if the store you’re going to accepts mobile payment.
In sum, it’s still a reliable app with lots of great features.
What do you think about our Google Pay review? Let us know in the comment section below.