In 2016, Google launched its Google Pay service in Australia. Formerly known as Android Pay, the system effectively allows smart phones to be used as credit cards.
However, whereas Google’s rivals, Apple and Samsung, launched with one or two banking partners, Google Pay launched with 28 financial institutions, including ANZ, Macquarie, and Beyond Bank, with more following. It is currently available in approximately 700,000 stores across Australia.
Once the app is downloaded from the Google Play store and is set up on your phone by linking your debit card, you will be able to unlock your phone and hold it close to a payment terminal to pay for an item.
You don’t even need to open the app; you only need to wake or, when prompted, unlock your phone (or device) to pay with a tap, wherever contactless payments are accepted.
Alternatively, you can select the Google Pay icon to make in-app purchases.
Depending on the size of the purchase, you may need to enter your PIN as well.
Which phones can use Google Pay?
Google Pay also works on more phones than its rivals. It can be used on any smartphone running Google Android software (version KitKat and above), and includes handsets from Samsung, Sony, LG, Huawei, BlackBerry and HTC. Owners of Samsung smartphone can choose whether to use Samsung Pay or Google Pay, but iPhone users can only use Apple Pay as a digital wallet.
The different systems work in essentially the same ways, but there are some differences:
- Android users only need to unlock their phone over a terminal. However, Apple users need to scan their fingerprint before completing any transactions.
- Apple Pay has less compatibility, since it only works on versions of the iPhone later than iPhone 6. Google claims that Google Pay is compatible with any Android device running on version 4.4 and later.
- Android has support from more major banks and large financial institutions than Apple.
Is Google Pay secure?
Google Pay doesn’t send your actual debit card number when you pay for something, so the details of your card stay safe.
Whenever you make a purchase, a payment confirmation appears on your phone along with the merchant’s name and number. So you’ll have a record of where and when your transactions happen, making it easy to identify any fraudulent charges.
The reason your bank or card details are not revealed when you pay is because of something called ‘tokenisation’.
This system means that when you pay for something, the retailer receives a one-time-use credit card number instead of your real account details. This means that if a credit card data breach happens, your actual card information remains secure.
Also, if your phone is lost or stolen, you can lock your device with Android Device Manager, which also allows you to create a new password and clear the phone of your personal information.