Updated on: 10 Oct 2018

What is Google Pay?

Google Pay (G Pay), the former Android Pay, is a full mobile payment system, designed to let people purchase items and services both online and in the real world, in physical stores. Google Pay was officially launched on the 11th of September 2015 in the U.S. Since then Google Pay has expanded its reach and is now available from banks and other financial institutions in countries like UK, Poland, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain or Belgium.

How does Google Pay work?

Google's payment service uses near field communication (NFC) technology on supported smartphones and smartwatches. A user stores their credit or debit card information on their Google Pay account, and when they want to pay for an item or service, they take their phone or watch and place it near the retailer's point-of-sale terminal. A signal is sends the payment information from the phone or watch to the POS terminal through NFC hardware. Google Pay can also be used on some NFC-enabled ATMs so users can get cash money from their bank account, again without having to pull out their credit or debit card.

While Google Pay is mostly used to pay for items in the real world, many Android apps support purchasing products with the service as well. You can also use it to store and use gift cards and retailer rewards cards on your account. For an additional amount of security, you can set up Google Pay so that, if your phone has a fingerprint scanner, it can be used to verify the payment within the app. Google Pay users can also type in a passcode to do the same thing if they don't have a fingerprint reader.

What really sets Google Pay apart from the rest of the payment services out there is its integration with other Google services. In Gmail, for instance, you can request money simply by pressing the little dollar sign in the toolbar under a message. You can even send money through Android Messages, the default texting service on most Android phones, and it will show up in Google Pay. If you have a Google Home, you can ask it to send over money to a friend through Google Pay. If you choose to use the actual Google Pay app instead, sending money is as simple as pressing on the option and entering your recipient's email address or phone number. You can also use your fingerprint sensor or Face ID to unlock the app. Transferring money into your bank account could take up to three days, but it's instant when you’re sending it to a debit card.

How much does Google Pay cost?

Google Pay is one of the cheapest services of this type, there are no fees to use debit cards or make bank transfers, though you will pay a 2.9 percent fee for credit cards. It can be used transfer a maximum amount of 9999 euro per transaction.

How to set up Google Pay on your phone

If you want to start using Google Pay on your smartphone, and if your bank supports it, the good news is that it is easy to set up. Indeed, it's likely that if you purchase a new Android phone, the Google Pay app is already pre-installed. If that's not the case, you can download Google Pay from the Google Play Store.

Then you just tap on the app and hit the "+" sign to add a credit or debit card from your supported bank. Again, you can also add supported gift cards or loyalty program details to your Google Pay account. If you already see your credit or debit card there don't be scared, it is there because you, most likely, used it to purchase either goods or services via Google in the past.

How to set up Google Pay on your smartwatch

If your smartwatch has Android Wear 2.0 installed, you can also set it up so that you can pay for goods and services via Google Pay. You will have to have the Google Pay app set up on your smartphone first. Then you tap on the app on your watch. It will offer you an option to add a new card and direct you to use your phone. On your phone, you can tap on which card you want to use on your Android Wear watch, enter a security code, and it should be available to use on your smartwatch. You will also be given an option to set up a passcode or pattern for some extra security.

How secure is Google Pay?

We live in an age where not a week goes by before a major new security leak is publicly reported. Naturally, there is considerable anxiety around Google Pay security. In this case, if you use your phone or watch to send a Google Pay-based payment to an NFC terminal, a randomly generated 16-digit number is sent, rather than your credit card and personal info. That means if that terminal or store you've used is hacked, your personal financial info should be safe.

Once more, that random number is stored in a cloud server, rather than on your phone, for some extra protection. Finally, payments are only sent out if your phone is working and unlocked. If it is locked and not in use, your account should be safe.

Google Pay with a credit card in Belgium

You can use Google Pay with a credit card in Belgium. For the moment you can only do it with the eligible MasterCard and/or Visa credit card from BNP Paribas Fortis, Fintro and Hello bank!.

You are able to use Google Pay at more than 85.000 retail locations throughout Belgium that accept contactless payments. This includes well known shops like Carrefour, McDonald's, Media Markt, H&M, and much more.

Google Pay can also be used when you shop in your favourite mobile apps. There's no need to enter your payment or address details every time. Look for the Google Pay purchase button in apps like Deliveroo, TransferWise or Vueling

Google Pay with a debit card in Belgium

After the launch of Google Pay for credit transactions in Belgium in May 2017, Mastercard is bringing mobile payment to another level in the country. In partnership with Google, cardholders of two of the biggest Belgian banks - BNP Paribas Fortis, Hello Bank, Fintro; and KBC/CBC/KBC-Brussels - will be able to run debit transactions with their smartphone thanks to Maestro: a world first.

To be able to use this new technology, cardholders need to possess a smartphone with the Android operating system and a Maestro debit card from KBC/CBC/KBC-Brussels or BNP Paribas Fortis, Hello Bank and Fintro. In order to use this innovative digital wallet, you will simply need to load your accepted debit card and then you can go to one of the many sales outlets equipped with a Near Field Communication (NFC) payment terminal to experience this simple and secure contactless payment method. For any amount under 25 euro, the payment will be done automatically. For amounts of 25 euro and over, cardholders will be required to unlock their smartphone and authenticate themselves.

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