If you’re a Google user and enjoy the brand, you might be interested in Google Pay, Google’s mobile wallet product. Google Pay is a safe and secure way to make purchases online or from a smartphone. Your card information is stored in the free Google Pay app, so you don’t have to access card information every time you make a payment like Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. All it takes is a few clicks to complete transactions. To learn more about how to use Google Pay, read on.

How does Google Pay work?

If you’ve already used Android Pay or Google Wallet, you’re ready for Google Pay, since both apps are now part of Google Pay. You can use Google Pay to make purchases in stores with an Android operating system, as well as use any connected device to make purchases with Google Pay in apps, online and on Google. If you live in the United States or India, you can also use Google Pay to send money to friends and family. Google Pay enables users to store credit and debit card information, tickets and boarding passes, PayPal information, loyalty cards and gift cards. In the U.S. and U.K., you can store bank accounts, as well.

To use Google Pay, download the free mobile wallet app on Google Play or the App Store. You can also visit pay.google.com to get started. Sign in to your Google Account, then add a form of payment. To add a card, open the Google Pay app and take a photo of the card or add the card information manually. Google verifies the card one of two ways. One is by making a small temporary charge on your account, which will automatically be removed within 24 hours. The other option is by sending you a verification code via phone, text or email or by having you call or sign into your bank. Once you have forms of payment stored in Google Pay, you can use Google Pay wherever it’s accepted, in stores and online.

Sending and requesting money with Google Pay is free and can be done on Android and iOS devices, as well as on the web. To send money, open Google Pay, tap Send, find your contact and follow the instructions to send them money. You can send money to anyone with a phone number or email address. You can also request money from a contact through the app. Any money you receive through Google Pay is automatically deposited to your default card account. If you have money in your Google Pay balance because that’s how you chose to accept it, you can manually deposit it to a bank account or use it as an in-app credit.

Where can I use Google Pay?

Google Pay is accepted by millions of merchants around the world. In stores, look for a Google Pay logo or a near field communication (NFC) logo on the payment device. If you don’t see these logos, ask if the store accepts contactless payments. If they do, you can use Google Pay. In stores that accept Google Pay, unlock your phone, hold the phone over the terminal and wait until you see a checkmark. You don’t even have to open up the app. Your phone must have NFC capabilities for Google Pay to work.

Online, look for the Google Pay option at checkout. For online merchants that accept Google Pay, you’ll be prompted to select the card you want to use for the transaction. When you add a card at checkout, it will be available to choose next time you use Google Pay online.

Pros of Google Pay

Google Pay is a convenient, protected way to make purchases and send and receive money. In stores, Google Pay doesn’t share your card info. Instead, the merchant receives a unique encrypted number during the transaction. This process is called tokenization, and it provides an added layer of security during transactions so your card information isn’t exposed and vulnerable. Also, when use Google Pay, you’ll have to unlock your phone, which adds another layer of security to this form of payment. If you lose your Android phone, you can use the Find My Device app to remotely find, lock or erase your phone.

Google Pay keeps a record of your transactions. Access it by tapping Menu, then Activity. This can be a nice feature if you want to review your spending habits in the future. Google Pay also enables you to set up payment reminders. If you need to send money to someone regularly, like for a monthly rent check, you can set up a custom reminder so you’re never late on payments.

Google Pay works with transit agencies in Chicago, Las Vegas, London and Portland, Oregon. If you’re a frequent public transportation user in these locations, you can quickly and easily use your Android device and Google Pay to get around.

Another benefit of Google Pay is the ability to request, send and receive money. This is a feature that the Samsung Pay mobile wallet doesn’t offer, but Apple Pay does. Getting and sending money through a mobile wallet can be a hassle-free process compared to chasing down friends with verbal reminders to pay you what they owe you.

Cons of Google Pay

Google Pay can be a restrictive mobile wallet depending on your device of choice and where you plan to use it. Google Pay contactless payment options in stores are only available in around 30 countries as of February 2020. If you’re traveling in South America or Africa, you most likely won’t be able to use Google Pay and will need to have a backup form of payment.

You can’t use Google Pay contactless payments on an iPhone or iOS devices, either. If you have an iPhone, you might be better off with Apple Pay. Samsung device users may prefer Samsung Pay, especially because of the built-in rewards system.

Being able to pay with Google Pay in stores is dependent on your phone’s battery life, NFC capabilities and having your phone on you. If you want to make Google Pay your preferred form of payment, you’ll want to carry a backup phone charger so you can use it.

Also, not all merchants are contactless payment merchants yet. You may still encounter shops that are cash-only or that don’t have updated point-of-sale equipment that enables NFC payments. Also, unlike Samsung Pay that works with magnetic secure transmission, Google Pay doesn’t have this capability.

Should I use Google Pay?

Google Pay is a reliable mobile wallet created with some of the best security features available. Google Pay mobile wallet payments are also protected by your bank’s security features, so using your smartphone to make payments is actually one of the most secure ways to pay. If you’re on board with using technology for payments and if you like the Google brand, you can download the free Google Pay app to get more payment options, even if you’re already an Apple Pay or Samsung Pay user.

Just remember that not all physical merchants will accept Google Pay, so it may be worth carrying a backup form of payment when you’re shopping. If you’re traveling, check the Google Pay list of countries to see if where you’re going accepts Google Pay in stores.