Google Pay – how it works and how to add a payment card

What is Google Pay

Google Pay is a free app from Google that allows you to load a credit or debit card onto your Android smartphone. You can then pay with your card in a contactless way just by putting your phone to the terminal, or at places that support Google Pay.

Competing iOS phones (i.e. the iPhone) have their own method in the form of Apple Pay, which actually works the same way. There are other options as well, but Google Pay and Apple Pay are clearly the most used and widespread.

Contactless mobile payment is a very modern way of paying, where there is no need to take the card out of your wallet or hide it again, which sometimes delays things considerably, but you just need to put your phone to it, which is quicker and easier. Instead of entering a PIN, the payment is then verified by unlocking the phone with a fingerprint, entering the PIN on the mobile or drawing a character that unlocks the mobile.

Google Pay must be supported by your bank – what are they all?

In order to upload a card to Google Pay, your bank must support Google Pay. It is now a completely modern way to pay, so basically all banks work with Google Pay normally and it is now possible to upload your card to your mobile.

The same applies to foreign banks, where mobile payments are more common than here. If you are a customer of a normal bank, it will also support Google Pay.

How to upload a card to Google Pay

Uploading a card is really easy:

  • First from Google Play download the free Google Pay app
  • You can then take a picture of your card and the details will load themselves, or you can fill them in manually
  • Verification will take place between Google Pay and your card-issuing bank – you may need to enter a code from a text message or any other verification your bank requires
  • Once verified, your card is in your phone and you can pay contactlessly
  • You can have as many cards as you like in Google Pay – you just need to choose which one you want to pay with

You can also watch a video tutorial directly from Google here, which shows everything clearly:

How to pay with Google Pay

To pay contactlessly, you need to turn on the so-called NFC chip on your phone. On Android, this is done by swiping from the top of the display, which opens up various options for turning on, for example, Wifi, Bluetooth and also the NFC chip.

This NFC chip (which stands for Near Field Communication) is basically used for communication between two devices that are very close to each other. You can use NFC to send photos or other data between phones, read business cards or retrieve information from special NFC stickers. Mostly, however, it is used for contactless payments, i.e. as part of services like Google Pay or similar. You can’t pay contactlessly without turning this chip on, but if you want to, you can otherwise turn it off quietly and turn it on before you pay. Battery life is virtually unaffected, and you basically have no chance of seeing the NCF chip on nonstop in terms of phone endurance, so don’t worry about having it on all the time. The NFC chip is off when the screen is off anyway, so it doesn’t drain your battery at all at the moment.

In the store, when you pay, you just ask for a card payment and instead of a contactless card, you just swipe your phone. You then just put the unlocked phone to the terminal and hold it there for a moment. The phone will show the card you paid with and a pipe showing the successful payment. That’s it and you’ve just paid with your phone instead of your card. It’s also good to say that you don’t need to be connected to the internet to pay.

Is it safe to pay by mobile with Google Pay? What if I lose my mobile phone?

Paying with Google Pay is just as secure as traditional card payments, it’s just far more convenient. We wrote at the beginning that we store a card in Google Pay, but that’s not entirely accurate.

When we load our card into Google Pay, the app creates a virtual card, called a token, which represents our real card when we pay. This virtual card is approved by the bank when we load the card into the app. This virtual card number is not even known by the user, and all the necessary payment actions take place completely in the background in a split second when the phone is placed in front of the contactless terminal.

In short,our real card is not in the phone at all, so even if the phone is stolen, no one has to steal it and will not know our card number. Of course, as with card theft, the thief can use it to make smaller payments, but because the phone is locked, the thief doesn’t get the option of making larger payments.

This gives us time to lock the phone or contact the bank, which then locks the virtual card in the Google Pay app.

Some banks offer their own apps. Which is the best solution?

Banks can offer their own Google Pay-like solution within mobile internet banking, in which the cards of a given bank can be stored. In principle, this is a very similar service, the only difference is that only the cards of a given bank can be uploaded to these apps, whereas any number of cards from different banks can be uploaded to Google Pay.

On the other hand, whether you use mobile banking, you are only with one bank and do not want to install another application, so you can also choose your bank’s solution. It’s entirely up to you and both Google’s and the banks’ solutions for paying by phone are very similar, if not in many ways identical.

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