Smartphones have fundamentally changed how we approach many situations, whether it’s taking a photo or arranging our daily schedules. Banking is another process that has undergone an evolution; gone are the days when using a physical debit card was the easiest way to pay.

iPhone users can use Apple Pay to shop via their device, but what about Android owners? Our smartphone experts are on-hand to show you how to use Google Pay, as well as where you can use this technology when shopping.

If your Android phone is in need of a change, our collection of new and refurbished devices has you covered.

What is Google Pay?

Google Pay is the company’s contactless payment service. It uses NFC (near-field communication) on a phone to wirelessly make a transaction.

Google pay app

Alongside Google Pay, you also have Google Wallet. This app is where you digitally store your bank, loyalty and gift cards on an Android device.

What you need to use Google Pay

You’ll need to meet the following requirements to start using Google Pay:

• A Google account
• An Android phone running Lollipop 5.0 or higher
o Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘About Phone’ > ‘Software Information’ to check your phone’s Android version
• A phone that supports NFC
o Tap ‘Settings’ > ‘Connections’ and see if there’s an option for ‘NFC and contactless payments’. Enable it if it’s currently off
• In-date debit or credit card
• Must be 18 years of age or older. Children younger than this will need permission from an adult

Which banks support Google Pay?

Many UK banks support Google Pay and contactless payments, including:

• Lloyds Bank
• Barclays
• HSBC
• Nationwide
• NatWest
• TSB
• Santander
• Monzo
• RBS
• American Express

Phone next to card machine to complete contacless payment

How to set up Google Pay

1 – Create a Google account

To begin, you’ll need a Google account. Google Pay works by using any cards that are stored in the Wallet app, which in turn requires a Google account to use. Set this up, and you’ll be ready to use all of the above.

If you already have a Google account, you won’t have to complete this step.

To set up an account:

  1. Head to the Google Account login page
  2. Click or tap ‘Create Account
  3. Enter your details and create a password

2 – Download the Google Wallet app

With your Google Account set up and ready, the next step is downloading the Google Wallet app. On some devices it may be pre-installed, so search through your apps list to see if you already have it.

Google wallet app open on device

If the app isn’t on your phone, open the Play Store and search for ‘Google Wallet’. When it appears, tap ‘Install’ to begin downloading it.

3 – Enter your account and card details

Once the Google Wallet app is installed, you’ll need to enter your Google account details to link them together.

Phone scanning a credit card

From here, you can also start adding cards to your virtual wallet:

  1. Open the Google Wallet app
  2. Choose the Google Account you want to log in with
  3. Tap ‘Add a card
    a. The app will let you either scan your card with the phone’s camera, or enter your card details manually

When adding more cards to Google Wallet after set-up, press ‘Add to Wallet’. This will bring up a wide range of cards you can link to your virtual wallet, including loyalty and gift cards you use regularly.

How do you use Google Pay in stores?

The beauty of contactless payments is how easy the process is. All you need to look out for is the contactless payment or Google Pay icons at checkout; these indicate that the store supports these transactions:

Google Pay contacless payment symbols

  1. Unlock your phone
  2. Hold the device over the card reader at checkout
  3. Wait for the beep, then lift your phone from the reader

How do you use Google Pay in apps?

You can also use Google Pay when making payments in apps. At checkout, press the ‘Buy with Google Pay’ option, select your card from the options given, and enter the 3-digit security number (also known as the CVC) that you’d normally find on the back.

Screeshot of using google pay as an option to checkout online

There you have it: how to use Google Pay and make payments all from your phone. If your child has a smartphone, or they sometimes use yours, you might be cautious about what they can spend. Take a look at our recommendations for the top apps that provide powerful and useful parental controls.

How to use Google Pay FAQs

What is the difference between Google Pay and Google Wallet?

Google Pay and Google Wallet are part of the same process, but work differently.

Think of Google Pay as what you are doing (making a contactless payment), and Google Wallet as the how (via a virtual wallet).

Can you use Google Pay abroad?

Yes, many countries support Google Pay to make a transaction.

Google has a list of every location where Google Pay can be used.

Is there a contactless limit when using Google Pay?

There’s no limit on how many transactions you can make with Google Pay, or the value of those transactions.

However, some stores might have specific limits on what you can spend, just like with a physical card.

Is Google Pay secure?

Credit card which is encrypted
Because Google Pay uses a token system with an encrypted number attached to each, it doesn’t share your bank details during a transaction.