Knowing how to use Google Pay will mean forgetting your wallet when you leave the house isn't as big a deal anymore. With more and more stores, gas stations, and other retailers accepting contactless payments, setting up Google Pay on your Android phone will ensure you're all set to make payments without needing a credit or debit card.
Setting up Google Pay on Android is relatively simple and only requires a couple of things. First, your phone needs to have NFC, a chip that lets it communicate with payment terminals. If you're running one of the best Android phones, chances are you're good to go. Even if you're running a lower-end smartphone, such as the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, it's likely to have NFC. If you're not sure whether your phone has NFC, you can check by downloading the Google Pay app from the Play Store. If your phone doesn't have NFC, the app will tell you when you first open it.
Second, you need to use a compatible credit or debit card, or an eligible PayPal account. To see a list of approved card providers in the US, you can check the Google Pay Help page. If you're in the UK, check out the UK Google Pay Help page.
If your phone and payment method are compatible, you're now ready to follow our guide on how to use Google Pay.
How to use Google Pay
1. If Google Pay isn’t already installed on your phone, download it from the Play Store and launch it after it finishes installing.
2. You’ll now be prompted to set your location permissions for Google Pay. Turning on location services lets Google Pay alert you when you’ve entered a place that lets you use the service, but the app will still work fine if you chose to deny location permissions.
3. To use your phone to pay in stores, tap Set It Up.
4. On the next screen, you can either select a credit card that’s already saved to your Google Account or add a new one. For this example, we’ll add a new card, which you can do by tapping "Add a new card."
5. You’ll be prompted to line up your card within a viewfinder so the app can scan your card's information without you having to type it in manually. You can also opt to fill in your card number, expiration date, and CVC yourself, if you prefer. Next, you’ll be asked to fill in your address and phone number, though that information may auto-populate if it’s already affiliated with your Google account.
6. Read your issuer's terms and tap Accept and Continue at the bottom, and Google will contact your bank to get your card approved.
7. Google Pay reminds you it can be used to pay when your smartphone is unlocked. Tap Got It at the bottom to confirm. If you haven't already set up a screen lock method, such as a pattern, PIN, or fingerprint, you'll be asked to add one.
8. Your card provider will now ask you to verify your ID via text, web login, a security app, or email. Select your preferred option and tap Continue at the bottom.
9. Enter the verification code you received and tap Submit.
You're now all set to start using Google Pay in stores, in apps, or online. If you need to add an additional card in the future, simply tap the blue action button in the lower-right corner of the cards screen and repeat steps 3 through 9.
Should you wish to ever remove a card, just tap on it. Then, tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner and select Remove Payment Method from the list of options that appears.
The most exciting aspect of Google Pay for most users is the ability to pay at a brick-and-mortar store with your smartphone, freeing you from the need to carry a bunch of credit cards. There’s also a security benefit to using Google Pay, as it doesn’t actually transmit your credit card information to the seller, instead using a unique encrypted number for the transaction.
While we still aren’t at the point that every store accepts mobile payments, the number is ever growing. As for the process of actually using the app in a store, it couldn’t be simpler. Here's how to use Google Pay in stores.
How to use Google Pay in stores
1. Unlock your smartphone.
2. Hold it up to the payment terminal as you would with a credit or debit card.
3. A checkmark will confirm that the payment is complete.
Now you've figured out how to use Google Pay, take a look at our pick of the best Google Assistant commands. To give your phone an instant boost, check out how to speed up your Android phone or tablet. Or for something more technical, see how to print from an Android phone or tablet.
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Dale Fox is a freelance journalist based in the UK. He's been a tech nerd ever since childhood, when he used the money from his first job as a paperboy to buy a subscription to GamesMaster magazine. Dale was previously a presenter and editor in China, where he also worked as a copywriter for OnePlus at its Shenzhen HQ.