How do I pay with Google Pay in store?

Google Pay has become one of the most popular contactless payment methods, allowing you to use your Android phone or Wear OS watch to pay in stores quickly and easily. With Google Pay, you don’t need to carry your physical wallet or cards anymore. All you need is your phone or smartwatch.

What is Google Pay?

Google Pay is a digital wallet platform and online payment system developed by Google to power in-app and tap-to-pay purchases on mobile devices. It allows you to store debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards in your Google Account to enable quick and secure purchases using your Android phone, Wear OS watch, or Chromebook.

Google Pay uses near field communication (NFC) technology to transmit payment information to compatible point-of-sale (POS) terminals when you hold your device near the terminal. This contactless payment method is quick, convenient, and secure.

How does Google Pay work in stores?

To use Google Pay in stores, your Android device must have an NFC chip to communicate with the store’s contactless payment terminal. Most Android devices produced after 2015 support NFC.

Here is how Google Pay payment works in stores:

  1. Open the Google Pay app on your phone. Make sure NFC is enabled on your device.
  2. Wake your phone and hold it near the store’s contactless payment terminal.
  3. The terminal will detect your device and process the payment using the default card you selected in Google Pay.
  4. A check mark will appear on your phone screen to indicate the payment went through successfully.

The transaction happens within seconds. There is no need to open your wallet, take out a card, insert or swipe it. With Google Pay, you don’t even need to unlock your phone – just wake the screen and hold the phone near the terminal.

Setting up Google Pay

To use Google Pay in stores, you first need to set it up on your Android device:

  1. Download the Google Pay app on your Android phone or Wear OS watch.
  2. Open the app and follow the prompts to add your credit, debit, gift or loyalty cards.
  3. For security, you will need to add a screen lock like pattern, PIN or password to your device.
  4. Accept the terms and conditions.
  5. To pay, select the card you want as the default payment method.

Once Google Pay is set up, your phone is ready to use for contactless payments. You don’t need to open the app – just unlock your phone and hold it near the payment terminal.

Where can I use Google Pay?

Google Pay is accepted at millions of stores and restaurants worldwide. Any merchant that accepts contactless payments from Apple Pay or Samsung Pay will also accept Google Pay.

Look for the universal contactless symbol at checkout to pay with Google Pay:

Some common places where Google Pay is accepted include:

  • Grocery stores like Whole Foods, Target, Walmart
  • Drugstores like CVS, Walgreens
  • Convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Wawa
  • Clothing and department stores like H&M, Macy’s
  • Gas stations like Exxon, Shell
  • Restaurants like McDonald’s, Starbucks
  • Vending machines
  • Public transit systems in cities like New York, London, Sydney

You can also use Google Pay for in-app purchases or within mobile websites that support the service. Look for the Google Pay or contactless payment button during checkout.

What cards and accounts can I use?

You can add the following cards and accounts to Google Pay:

  • Debit cards
  • Credit cards
  • Store gift cards and loyalty cards
  • Public transit cards in supported cities
  • Student ID cards from participating universities

Most major credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards from top providers like Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover are supported. Google Pay also works with many bank-issued cards in countries around the world.

Is Google Pay safe to use?

Yes, Google Pay is very safe to use for making payments in stores. It utilizes the latest encryption technology to keep your card details secure.

Here are some of the security features of Google Pay:

  • Your actual card numbers are not stored on your device or shared with merchants. Virtual account numbers are used instead.
  • Your phone must be unlocked for payments to work, providing another layer of security.
  • Transactions are monitored by Google’s fraud systems.
  • If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can remotely disable Google Pay by logging into your Google Account on a computer.

Contactless payments also do not reveal your name, phone number or billing information to the store. The only information transmitted is the virtual card number used for that transaction.

Pros of using Google Pay

Here are some of the biggest advantages of using Google Pay for in-store purchases:

  • Fast and convenient: There is no need to carry physical cards anymore. Google Pay is incredibly fast – transactions take just seconds.
  • Secure payments: Google Pay utilizes tokenization and encryption to keep your data safe.
  • Hands-free: After unlocking your phone, you can hold it near the terminal without needing to open any app.
  • Organized: All your cards are stored in one Google Pay app for easy access.
  • Accepted widely: Google Pay works at millions of retail stores as well as within apps and websites.
  • Receipts: Digital receipts are saved automatically in the Google Pay app for your records.

Cons of Google Pay

While Google Pay makes in-store purchases extremely quick and convenient, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Your phone battery needs to have adequate charge to make payments.
  • If your phone is lost or damaged, you won’t be able to pay until you replace it.
  • Google Pay may not be accepted at some smaller, independent retailers.
  • The app requires an internet connection to set up cards and process transactions.
  • You need a smartphone with NFC capabilities to use Google Pay.

Google Pay vs Apple Pay vs Samsung Pay

How does Google Pay compare against Apple Pay and Samsung Pay?

Feature Google Pay Apple Pay Samsung Pay
Works with Android devices Apple devices Samsung Galaxy devices
In-store payments Via NFC Via NFC Via NFC and MST
Security Tokenization Tokenization Tokenization
Acceptance Millions of stores Millions of stores 30 million stores

While all three offer quick, secure contactless payments using your mobile device, Samsung Pay has the widest offline store acceptance because it can work on both NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) terminals. However, Google Pay and Apple Pay have wider app and online store acceptance.

Google Pay Frequently Asked Questions

Is my card eligible for Google Pay?

Most major credit and debit cards from leading issuers like Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover are supported. Prepaid cards, store gift cards and loyalty cards can often be added too. Check the Google Pay app or website to confirm card eligibility.

What if my phone has no internet connection?

Google Pay can still work offline to make contactless payments. However, an internet connection is required during initial setup to add cards as well as to periodically synchronize your account information.

Can I remove a card from Google Pay?

Yes, you can remove an existing card from Google Pay at any time. Just open the Google Pay app, tap on the card, scroll down and select ‘Remove card’.

Is there a transaction limit for Google Pay?

Most contactless transactions have a limit of $100 or less without requiring additional authentication. However, this can vary based on the terminal, retailer and location – some may allow higher limits per transaction.

Can I use Google Pay abroad?

Yes, Google Pay works globally in supported countries whenever contactless payments are accepted. You can use it to make purchases when traveling abroad just like you would at home.

Do I earn rewards points when using Google Pay?

Yes, payments made via Google Pay will still count toward any rewards programs or points offered by your card issuer, like airline miles, cashback or other incentives.

Is Google Pay free to use?

Google Pay is free to download, set up and use for contactless payments. However, standard transaction fees or foreign transaction fees from your bank may still apply based on your card.


Google Pay provides a quick, easy and secure way to pay in stores using your Android phone or Wear OS device. It is widely accepted at millions of retail locations globally and utilizes tokenization to keep your data safe. While Google Pay has wide in-app and online acceptance, Samsung Pay is accepted at more offline stores.

To start using Google Pay, simply download the app, add your cards, and look for the contactless symbol at checkout. Tap or hold your phone near the terminal – that’s it! Going contactless with Google Pay helps reduce the need to handle cash, cards or devices exchanged at checkout.

Leave a Comment