What is Google Pay and how does it work?

Google has come up with a new payment app called Google Pay for Android users. It is free to download but is currently available only to users in the US and the UK. The new app combines elements of the existing payment app Android Pay and Google Wallet. While the former was used for making payments at retail outlets just like Samsung Pay or Apple Pay, the latter allowed users to send and receive money to friends and contacts quickly.

Users on Android Pay app will be shifted to Google Pay with the next update. What makes the Google Play more relevant than its predecessors is integration with other Google apps. This means users will be able to access its features from other Google apps, be it Chrome, Play Store or even Google Assistant. So if users are on Chrome browsing through a movie booking site, they can pay on it by opening the Google Pay interface within Chrome. Similarly, for quick payment at a shop, users can access Google Pay through Google Assistant.

Google Pay will show all the options as cards, on the lines of Google cards in the Google app. It shows all the credit cards saved with the app at the top, followed by a list of nearby stores which accept Google Pay, gift cards and rewards users are entitled. Then comes the history of recent purchases to help users keep track of how much they have been spending.

Google Pay won’t share the actual card details at the time of payment. Like Samsung Pay app, it will generate a unique encrypted number and share it with the merchant.

What makes Google Pay better than Samsung Pay or Apple Pay is that it’s not tied to a particular OEM, but will work on any Android smartphone which supports NFC (near field communication). Google Pay will work with all swipe-based payment machines via NFC, just like Samsung Pay. NFC allows payments by building a high frequency wireless network between the smartphone and the machine when they are brought closer to each other.

There is no word on its availability outside of the UK and the US, as of now. However, for users in India, Google has a separate payment app called Tez. It supports UPI (Unified Payment Interface) which allows direct transactions from users’ bank accounts to the recipient’s bank account. The app can also be used to pay for mobile recharge, DTH subscription and electricity bill.

Google Pay is tied to an ecosystem of payment and works only with merchants who accept them as a payment option and devices which support NFC, unlike Google Tez which works for anyone with a bank account. Most smartphones with NFC belong to the mid- and high-end segment, making Google Pay beyond the reach of the masses.livemint