What Is Google Pay & How To Use the Google Pay App
A recent survey found that nearly 110 million Americans have used a digital wallet at some point in their lives. That’s a third of the entire country! With digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay becoming more popular, it’s natural that you’d ask the question: what even is a digital wallet and how do I use them?
A majority of the people in the survey mentioned above noted that they used digital wallets because they were much easier than carrying around cards and mostly, because they were much easier than carrying around cash. All you have to do is connect your cards or accounts and pull up the app to pay when it’s time to check out.
Sure, there’s a little more to it than that but that’s what we’re here to help you with! Google Pay is one of the two main digital wallets, so let’s dive into what Google Pay is and how you can use the Google Pay app seamlessly for all of your financial transactions.
What is a Digital Wallet?
A digital wallet is, at its core, a virtual account that stores your personal information and financial data. You can use it to shop online, manage your finances, and avoid carrying cash or cards around with you all the time. It's basically like having an ATM in your pocket!
While Apple Pay and Google Pay are popular simply due to the fact that they are widely known and trusted brands (Apple Pay also makes it easier, for example, to pay friends or family via iMessage), you have quite a few choices when it comes to the best digital wallets for you.
We’ve ranked the best here, but if you’d like to compare Google Pay to other options, check out apps such as Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle. While they don’t all offer exactly the same features as a true digital wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay might, they’re great for various other things.
What is Google Pay?
Google Pay is a mobile payment system that was launched in May of 2017 and has been steadily growing since then. After setting up your account and linking your account(s), the app allows you to use your phone or device as your wallet. You can make payments in stores, online, and within apps without having to carry cash or cards with you. It's fast, convenient and secure!
As well, Google Pay acts as a money transfer app and lets you send or receive money from b, with just a few clicks. You can also use your phone to make purchases at over one million stores that accept contactless payments and split bills with friends or family (making it a much easier way for a group of friends to split the Happy Hour bill or for everybody to pay their fair share of a large family dinner). If you're an Android user, everything is done through your favorite apps like Gmail, Chrome, YouTube and Play Store as well.
Finally, the app offers you the ability to receive a comprehensive overview of your financial habits and spending trends. This is, by far, one of the best benefits of using a digital wallet app like Google Pay. If you, for example, have one checking account with Bank of America and another with Chase and also want to link your Starbucks Rewards card, you can link all three in the Google Pay app and, at any time, receive an overview of your spending across all accounts!
How to Use the Google Pay App
It’s important to note, first, that while Apple Pay might seem like the app for Apple phone users and Google Pay is the app for Android users, Google Pay is actually available to download on both Android and iOS. This means that if, for whatever reason, you’re just not a fan of the way Apple Pay works or feel that it lacks a few features, you can download Google Pay and use it just the same!
Now, let’s start by listing just a few of the most standard features you can expect to enjoy when you download the Google Pay app:
- Pay digitally using the app
- Send and receive money
- Split expenses with a group
- Save money
- Earn rewards on purchases
- Understand your spending
- Enroll in rewards programs via the app
- Get cashback for things like paying and referring friends
As with most apps and particularly digital wallet apps specifically, you’ll want to make sure you really get a lot of use out of the features so that you’re taking advantage of its full power.
How to Download the Google Pay App
Now, how do you download the Google Pay app? As mentioned, you can get it for both Android and iOS. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll need to set up your account. This includes providing your personal information and linking whichever cards you want to link (for this, you will likely need to have your cards or account numbers on hand).
Now, you’re ready to pay! Google notes that, once your card is connected, every time you open the app to pay, “Google Pay facilitates a process called tokenization in which a token stands in for a customer’s actual credit and debit card numbers.”
So, basically, instead of pulling your card out of your wallet each time you go to pay, you can pull up the Google Pay app and it creates a single-use token for that transaction (think of it like a one-time password). The network validates that toeken to ensure it matches your card number and the bank will decrypt the information to pay. It’s that easy!
Don’t Need a Full Digital Wallet?
Maybe you don’t like the idea of a full digital wallet and would rather use a virtual debit card straight from a banking app. If that’s the case then check out Cheese! You can link the card to other digital wallets or just use the Cheese mobile banking app to pay with your virtual debit card and track your purchases and spending.
Download the Cheese mobile banking app via Google Play or the App Store. After you’ve created your account, you can start using your virtual Cheese Debit Card immediately (a physical debit card will be on its way in the mail!). Now that your digital wallet is set up, use it to track your cashback offers and rewards and to see how you can give back to your community!