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Published April 3, 2024
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What Is Google Pay?

Google Pay allows Android users to complete quicker online checkouts and easy in-person, contactless payments.

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Google Pay allows Android users to make payments with a quick scan of their device. Not only is it easy to use, but in many ways, Google Pay is also more secure than using a physical credit or debit card, thanks to high levels of encryption and tokenization. 

How Google Pay works

Google Pay — or GPay — and Google Wallet are interrelated tools. Together, Google Pay and Google Wallet can help you store digital versions of credit and debit cards, transit passes, and identification cards, as well as better manage your money and finances. 

In order to use Google Pay, online or in person, you’ll need to add at least one payment method to your Google Wallet.

Using Google Pay

Google Pay can be used to make purchases in stores and online in Canada, simply by tapping your device or using it to enter your store payment info[1].

On top of being convenient and easy to use, Google Pay is considered a secure form of payment both in person and online. This security is due to a feature called tokenization, which hides your credit card number from merchants and replaces it with a random token number. Tokenization allows you to make valid and legitimate payments while keeping your card information private and protected. 

Google Pay and Google Wallet are compatible with Android devices that use Android 7.0 or higher, have near-field communication (NFC), and host card emulation (HCE) capability — the technologies that enable you to store your payment cards and tap your phone to a pay terminal.

Because the Android ecosystem is vast, Google doesn’t maintain a full list of compatible devices, but popular phones like the Google Pixel 6 and newer, and the Samsung Galaxy S22, S23 and S24 series all support it. 

You can follow a few steps to see whether your phone supports Google Pay:

  1. Check your Android version by navigating to “Settings,” then “About Phone/Tablet,” then “Android version.” If your version is earlier than 7.0, you’ll need to update it.
  2. Check that your phone has NFC capability. Open “Settings” and search for “NFC,” then turn on “Use NFC.” If nothing comes up in your search, your phone isn’t NFC compliant. You won’t be able to use Google Pay for tap purchases in stores, nonetheless, you may be able to use it for in-app purchases. Loyalty cards may also still be used via a barcode or QR code.
  3. Make sure you haven’t modified your phone. For example, avoid running a developer version of Android.
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Google Pay pros and cons

Pros of Google Pay

  • Easier than carrying around a wallet full of credit cards.
  • More secure than using a physical credit card, thanks to tokenization.
  • Compatible with hundreds of Android phones and devices.

Cons of Google Pay

  • Not available in every region, and not all businesses accept it.
  • Not compatible with iOS devices (Apple users can use Apple Pay instead).
  • Only works if your phone does, so you should carry a physical card as a backup in case your battery dies.

How to use Google Pay on your device

As long as you have a compatible device and a valid Google account, using Google Pay is easy. First, download the Google Pay app if you don’t already have it. Simply search “Google Pay” in the Google Play store.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, open it and tap “Add to Wallet” to add a new credit or debit card. Follow the instructions to add your card(s) manually or by scanning them with your phone’s camera. Some credit card companies may also require you to verify your card. Make sure NFC is turned on and Google Pay is set as the default payment app, and you’re ready to go.

If you want to remove a card, just tap the “Remove” button under the card information.

Using Google Pay for online and in-store purchases

To use Google Pay for an in-store purchase, you first need to ensure that the merchant accepts it[2]. You can look for the Google Pay symbol or simply ask. Then, unlock your phone and position the back of your device close to the payment terminal. You do not need to open the Google Pay app. Follow any prompts that pop up — some retailers or card issuers may require you to enter a signature or personal identification number (PIN). When the blue check mark appears, your payment has gone through.  

If you are making a purchase online, you can still use Google Pay[3]. Again, make sure the merchant accepts Google Pay as a payment method. Then choose that option when it comes time to pay and follow the prompts to select your preferred card and confirm your address.

Using Google Pay to send money

Google Pay can be used to send or request money, provided you have a compatible device and a valid Google account. First, open the Google Pay app (or download it if you haven’t already).

Next, search for the person with whom you want to transact. You can do this using their name, email address, phone number or scanning a QR code. Indicate whether you want to send money to the selected person or request money from them. Enter the amount and the description. Choose a payment method, if applicable. Then tap “Pay.”

    Frequently asked questions about Google Pay

    Is Google Pay available in Canada?

    Yes, Google Pay is available in Canada, though not all features may be available in every region.

    Google Pay vs. Google Wallet: What’s the difference?

    Google Wallet is a digital wallet that allows you to store personal information like ID, transit passes, and debit and credit cards. Google Pay is what allows you to use this information to make payments with your Android device, either online or in person. 

    While the two remain separate for now in Canada, Google will combine them into a single app (Google Wallet) in the U.S. in June 2024.

    Is Google Pay safe?

    Google Pay uses multiple levels of security to protect your payment information. Like Apple Pay, it uses tokenization, which means that it doesn’t share your actual card number with retailers. Instead, it uses a random “token” number and keeps your credit and debit card information private. 

    Google Pay also requires you to have a screen lock and to unlock your phone for most purchases. This makes it easier to protect your information should your phone be lost or stolen. However, if you lose your phone, Google recommends that you erase it remotely with Find My Device just to be safe. 

    As always, you should also keep tabs on your transactions and monitor them for any fraudulent behaviour. If you see something suspicious, report it immediately.

    Article Sources

    Works Cited
    1. Google, “Google Pay Banks and Partners in Canada,” accessed April 3, 2024.
    2. Google, “Tap to pay for everyday essentials,” accessed April 3, 2024.
    3. Google, “Seamless online checkout,” accessed April 3, 2024.


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