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A guide to Google Pay

Google Pay can be a quick and secure contactless payment alternative to physical cards. Here’s how it works.

Google Pay can be a quick and secure contactless payment alternative to physical cards. Here’s how it works.

Written by
Alex Hasty
Insurance comparison and finance expert
14 NOVEMBER 2023
3 min read
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What is Google Pay?

Google Pay is a quick, contactless payment method that uses cards linked to your Google account and Android devices.

It used to be called Google Wallet but after merging with Android Pay in January 2018, it became Google Pay.

How do I set up Google Pay?

It takes a few minutes to set up Google Pay. You just need to make sure you have a valid Google account and an Android 7.0 operating system.

  • Open the Google Pay app
  • Tap Credit or debit card
  • Add card details – you can use your camera to scan a debit or credit card or enter the details manually
  • Complete verification
  • Don’t forget to turn on near field communication (NFC) and make sure Google Pay is set as the default payment app.

How do I use Google Pay

To use Google Pay for in-store purchases:

  • Unlock your phone
  • Hold your phone over the card reader
  • Wait until you see a check mark.

To use Google Pay for online payments:

  • Choose Google Pay at the checkout
  • Select the card you’d like to pay with
  • Confirm your purchase.

What are the pros and cons of Google Pay?


  • It’s a quick and easy way to pay
  • It’s secure – the merchant receives a unique encrypted number and doesn’t have your card details
  • You can store loyalty cards in Google Pay too
  • Higher contactless limit – you may be able to spend over the £100 contactless limit, but it depends on the retailer


  • It’s harder to keep track of spending
  • There’s no way to make payments if your device is stolen or lost
  • It doesn’t work for all smartphones – Google Pay, which was created for Android, only works with smartphones that are NFC-enabled.

Where can I use Google Pay?

You can use Google Pay wherever you see the Google Pay symbol, whether that’s in stores or online.

You can also use Google Pay on the London Underground, bus, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London. Touch in and out on rail services to pay the right fare and only touch in on buses and trams.

Consider how much benefit you’ll get from the perks on offer. You may find that some, like travel insurance, are cheaper elsewhere. Or you may already have them.

The content written in this article is for information purposes only and should not be taken as financial advice. If you require support on the products discussed here, please speak to your bank/lender or seek the advice of an independent professional financial advisor. We also have more information on our Customer Support Hub.

Frequently asked questions

Is Google Pay safe?

Yes, Google Pay is secure. When you make payments, Google Pay sends a virtual account number to the merchant instead of your actual card number. Payment methods are securely stored on Google’s private servers and your payment data is encrypted.

If you end up losing your phone, or it gets stolen, you can use Google Device Manager to lock it or wipe it clean.

Which banks support Google Pay?

Hundreds of banks around the world support Google Pay, including American Express, Halifax, HSBC and more. You can see the full list on the Google website.

Can I use Google Pay abroad?

You can use Google Pay for spending abroad provided the country and the retailer accept it.

Does Google Pay have a spend limit?

There’s no spending limit for Google Pay, but the retailer themselves may have a limit on the amount they’ll accept via Google Pay.

Alex Hasty - Insurance comparison and finance expert

At Compare the Market, Alex has had roles as Commercial Associate Director, Director of Trading and Director of Growth. He’s currently responsible for the development and execution of Comparethemarket’s longer-term strategic options, ensuring the right breadth of products and services that meet customer needs.

Learn more about Alex