You might have already heard that Google Pay works with NFC technology, also known as Near Field Communication. This is the technology that makes it possible for you to make a contactless payment by simply whipping out your phone or watch.
But can you still use Google Pay without it if you have an older device or have rooted your phone? What about those stores that haven’t yet upgraded to NFC terminals; can you use Google Pay there?
The answer to these questions is yes and no. There are situations, circumstances, and settings where Google Pay can be used without NFC (although not many), and others in which it is mandatory. We’ll help you understand what is and isn’t possible and how to handle each situation.
Not familiar with Google Pay? Don’t worry, that’s just the new name for Android Pay. Google Pay will someday also encompass Google Pay Send, formerly known as Google Wallet, if things go according to plan.
Method 1: How Google Pay Works in Stores
Google’s motto for in-store payments is Pay here. Pay there. Pay anywhere, but is that true in all cases? Not necessarily. Not all devices have the ability to make in-store payments via Google Pay, and not all point-of-sale systems have the capacity to accept them. When you set up the Google Pay app on your device, it will let you know if you are missing NFC or HCE (Host Card Emulation), which is also necessary to make contactless payments.
To use Google Pay in stores, using NFC, you must first set it up. If you already had Android Pay, your app will be updated and your card information carried over automatically. Once you are set up, it’s time to try it out at the store.
Your phone must be running Android Kitkat 4.4 or higher, and have NFC. If it doesn’t, the Google Pay will alert you. To find out about the NFC beforehand, go to Settings > Wireless & networks > More and look for an NFC option. If one isn’t present, there’s a chance your device doesn’t have it, but the path to get to the option can also vary by device.
Install Google Pay (if applicable)
If you have a newer phone, it’s highly likely that Google Pay is already installed. Here’s the link if it isn’t.
Download: Google Pay
Log into Google Account
Any cards associated with your Google account, such as those you have on file for Google Play, will be added automatically with this step.
Set Up Screen Lock (if applicable)
Google Pay is going to require a password, PIN, pattern, or fingerprint screen lock. Fingerprint is best, if available on your device. This is a good idea regardless of whether you are using Google Pay with or without NFC.
Turn NFC on (if applicable)
Go to Settings > Wireless & networks > More and toggle NFC to ON.
Agree to Permissions
There are quite a few, but you won’t be able to use the app unless you agree to them.
Add Credit/Debit Card(s)
Adding a card can be as easy as snapping a picture, or you can add the information manually. Just hit the plus sign to add a credit or debit card.
Add Gift/Loyalty Card(s)
For loyalty cards, press Add a loyalty program. If it’s a gift you wish to add, tap Add a gift card. Search for the store/brand. Instructions will be provided onscreen. You will then be notified when you are near the store where it can be redeemed.
You can also save offers to your phone when you tap on G Pay Save to phone on websites and in retailer’s apps.
To make a payment via NFC, you need only hold your device to a POS terminal. Small sums may be paid without any passcode or signature, especially if your device was recently unlocked. In some instances you will be asked for authentication.
Method 2: Using Google Pay Send without NFC
I am pretty bad about not carrying cash, which mostly isn’t a problem. There are a few exceptions though. One of these is when I go to dinner with friends and we decide to split the bill. Without cash, we often have to ask the waiter/waitress to recalculate the bill and split our orders.
This is inconvenient for the wait staff, and leads to an increased amount of time spent waiting for our bill. There’s no need to do this when you have Google Pay Send, and there’s no need for NFC either. To use Google Pay Send, you just need information that can be as simple as your friend’s phone number. You may also opt for alternative apps that don’t use NFC in or out of stores, such as: Venmo, PayPal, Samsung Pay, or Square Cash App.
Download: Venmo: Send & Receive Money
Download: Samsung Pay
Download: Cash App
Launch Google Pay Send
Alternatively, you can visit pay.google.com.
Download: Google Pay Send
Specify the amount you want to send.
Add Payment Method
Add a debit card if needed.
Enter Recipient Information
You will need the email address, name, or phone number of the receiving party.
Double-check that the payment amount and method are accurate. Ensure you are doing this regardless of whether you are using Google Pay with or without NFC.
Press Send again.
Method 3: How Does Android Pay Work in Apps?
You can use Google Pay in hundreds of apps without ever having to enter your payment information. But how is it done, and does it involve NFC?
Launch Compatible App
Open an app that is supported, like Uber or Kayak.
Download: Kayak Flights, Hotels, & Cars
Look for Google Pay at Checkout
You should see a Buy with Google button.
Select Google Pay
Press the Google Pay button.
Google Pay may ask for authentication as well, but it does not require NFC to make in-app purchases.
Method 4: How Does Google Pay Work in Websites?
You know the reason (or at least part of the reason) so many physical stores are struggling to stay open. It’s due to the rise of online shopping. Google Pay makes this more convenient by making it where you don’t have to re-enter your payment information for each website, your sensitive credit or debit card numbers are never shared directly with each vendor, and it’s all done without NFC.
Open any Browser
You will need be buying from a participating merchant.
Check for a Google Pay Button
Look for a button at checkout that says Buy with GPay.
Tap the Button
Press the Google Pay purchase button.
Pick a Payment Method
You might be asked which payment method you want to use if you haven’t selected a default, but it’s not too late to do so now.
Enter Shipping Address
This will take care of itself practically, if you set a default for next time.
Did you know that you can also send money via Gmail? It’s as easy as attaching a file. Compose an email to the recipient of the funds you are sending, then click on the money symbol icon below. Enter the amount you’d like to send and the payment method. If you are already set up on Google Pay, the payment method will be a breeze, and no NFC is necessary.
What’s your favorite way to pay? Samsung Pay doesn’t require NFC even in stores, but you do have to have a Samsung device. Have tips on using Google Pay? Share your thoughts in the comments.