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App Development

Viewer Request: All About Google Pay

Google Pay is an app that enables users to pay using their compatible phones, watches, or tablets. It's also integrated into Google Chrome.


In case you didn't know, there's a way to connect with us about any tech questions you might have. Of course, you can use our contact form, but we also field questions for Tech Tuesday here. Recently we had a subscriber ask us all about Google Pay, so let's dive in.

Google Pay (now merged with Android Pay) is the Android answer to Apple Pay. It has a lot of the same features and even more. In short, it's an app that enables users to pay using their compatible phones, watches, or tablets. It's also integrated into Google Chrome and so can be used on your web browser, even the web browser you use on an Apple phone if you're feeling a little cheeky.

Benefits for Consumers

Easy Setup

For consumers, it's really easy to get started. All you have to do is download the app on your phone. While there are a bunch of features to take advantage of in the app, to allow basic transactions, you need to input a phone number and bank account number to get started. Your device will need to support NFC. Luckily, is standard on most mobile phones.

Wide Adoption

The service is only as good as its adoption within the financial industry! Luckily it is supported by most major banks including Citibank, Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. It is also supported by major credit cards, including Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Visa. Websites that support Masterpass and Visa Checkout now also work with Google Pay. Google Pay is even integrated in several banking apps. You can also sync up your PayPal account with Google Pay to use to fund transactions or receive payments. It is available in many stores for in-store payment. Many online stores accept it as well. Or, simply use Google Chrome to leverage Google Pay when shopping online. Google Pay is available in 29 countries. So even if you're traveling it is likely that you'll be able to continue using it for transactions abroad.

NFC Payment

If your device supports NFC, near field communication, then you can use Google Pay to enable that transaction! This is tap to pay, the same feature enabled by Apple Pay for their phones and smartwatches. This is available on some shopping kiosks and credit card POS machines. It's fairly widely adopted but isn't available everywhere yet.

Save and Use Event Tickets

As with many digital wallets, Google Pay also has the ability to save your event tickets, boarding passes, and other digital tickets which can then be scanned from the app. This is convenient. It saves you from carrying around printed tickets or boarding passes. You're less likely to lose your phone than a loose slip of paper as well.

Secure

Google does not skimp on security. None of your information is stored on the phone, but rather on encrypted servers. (This is standard practice for financial apps and data, however, Google sets the gold standard for server security.) In addition, Google doesn't even send your information to a vendor when facilitating a transaction. Instead, the app generates a temporary card number and funds the transaction to that card number. As an added layer of security, Google creates a unique pin for transactions over $100 so it is impossible to accidentally pay twice.

Send Money or Request Payment

Google Pay also incorporates features similar to Venmo or the Cash App, which allows you to send money or request payment. Since Google Pay can already be integrated with your bank account and digital cards, it is a convenient feature to be able to do cashless payments within the app as well. Also, like Venmo or Cash App, you can transfer funds to and from your bank account. 

Store Virtual Cards

Par for the course in a payment app like this is the feature to store your virtual cards. Google Pay shows up here as well with this option. 

Promotion and Reward Program

Unlike some of the other payment apps, Google also offers a promotion and reward program. Get some money for sharing the app. If you choose to participate in the rewards program, you can get cash back or discounts at participating restaurants and stores. There's an Explore tab where you can see relevant deals. Google Pay also lets you add store loyalty and rewards cards within the app for automatic tracking.

Benefits for Merchants

Easy Online Integration

Including Google Pay as an option in your app or website is relatively easy. I have a few resources linked below for the API Docs, this article, and this one that give a great overview of how to implement it in your own marketplace.

Easy Checkouts

Google Pay makes the checkout process so easy and frictionless for your users. This is a huge benefit to your application a website. Users will frequently abandon items in the cart if the checkout process has too many steps, takes too long, or hangs when loading. With the internet at our fingertips, any one of us can quickly find a similar product somewhere else. And for all of its faults, every shop is competing with the experience of Amazon's online shopping. It needs to be just as easy or easier to be able to compete. Integrating Google Pay is a fantastic way to make buying from you easy.

No Extra Fees

It's free. Unlike Apple Pay, which charges a small transaction fee to vendors, Google Pay is completely free. For vendors and for consumers. That kind of benefit speaks for itself.

Secure and Trusted

We have discussed the benefit of security in the consumer section. This, of course, is a benefit for vendors as well. Just as consumers want their payment information protected, so do vendors! Just as consumers want to make payments without issue, so vendors want to receive payment without issue. 

 

An added benefit for vendors in this conversation is also the reputation of security, aka Trust. How trusted are the payment providers that you use in your checkout process? While, of course, the actual security of a platform matters, the perceived trust of it matters just as much. Both will be a barrier to sales.

Popular with Younger Consumers

Finally, Google Pay is popular with younger consumers. For millennials to Gen Z, digital wallets and tap-to-pay are conveniences that make them more likely to spend. Don't miss the potential of this market by ignoring these free and easy-to-implement features in your buying experience.

Disadvantages

Not Accepted Everywhere

Google Pay is not yet ubiquitous. While it's easy to look up a list of stores and restaurants that accept it (a quick Google search will do the trick), it's still not everywhere. Even where  NFC is enabled, they may not accept Google Pay. A prominent example is Walmart which only accepts its own Walmart Pay, which has the benefit of retaining customer transaction data for itself.

Nothing is Perfectly Secure

Nothing is perfectly secure. Not even Google. So while hacking should not be a worry, it doesn't mean it's impossible. What consumers may be more concerned about, and this seems to be a question of personal risk tolerance, is Google having data at the source of your transactions. While it's likely that Google knows a heckuva lot about our buying behaviors anyway, this gives a direct insight into when, how, how much, and where we are buying. 

Dependent on Your Device

Many overviews of Google Pay list "leave your wallet at home" as a benefit. Realistically, even if we choose to pay with Google Pay, everyone is still carrying around ID and other important things in their wallets. By contrast, relying solely on Google Pay will make you more dependent on your device. This means things like losing service or draining your battery on your device will have an even bigger impact. As convenient as having a smartphone and/or watch is to be the all-in-one device for communication, internet memes, pocket calculator, social media scroller, and payment, that also means not being able to use it is all that more universally inconvenient. Diversification also has its advantages.

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