Android Pay Is Here

Category: Finance

Google announced the roll-out of Android Pay, its mobile payment service for Android devices, about a month ago. But confusion still reigns among eager Android users. How, exactly, can one get Android Pay? What credit/debit cards can it support? And what happened to my Google Wallet app? Read on for answers...

What is Android Pay?

If you search the Google Play app store, you'll find both Android Pay, and a Google Wallet app, labeled “(New).” Some users have installed the new Wallet app, thinking it’s an update. Others thought it was the new Android Pay app. It’s neither. Existing Google Wallet users who install the New Google Wallet app end up with two Google Wallet apps on their phones, and they are very different.

The New Google Wallet app does not support credit cards or gift cards. It only allows you to send and receive cash via email and a linked debit card or bank account, or from your Google Wallet balance. It’s sort of a hybrid between Square Cash and Paypal.

The old Google Wallet app is still on your phone, and it still works. You can accept cash to your Google Wallet account, then spend it using your Google Wallet Mastercard, or transfer it to a linked debit card or bank account. You can send money to another Google Wallet user. The Android Pay app is being pushed out to existing Google Wallet users as an upgrade to Google Wallet. Presumably, that means the old Google Wallet will disappear.
Android Pay app

But if you're like me, and you never had Google Wallet on your smartphone, the situation is much simpler. Just download the Android Pay app from the Play Store. You really don't need the Wallet app at all.

If you have a Google payment account, payment cards associated with it will be automatically added to your Android Pay app. Some of those cards may be issued by banks not yet supported by Android Pay.

American Express, Bank of America, Citi, Discover, Wells Fargo and a few others are playing nice with Android Pay. Chase Bank, which has announced a competing Chase Pay service, is absent from the list of participating institutions, and Capitol One is listed as “coming soon.” If your card is issued by a bank that's not yet supporting Android Pay, it can still be used, but there are a few caveats.

Using Android Pay

It's nice to have choices. But the pay-by-app field is getting crowded and confusing. The new Android Pay service only works with Android-powered devices. iPhone users can use Apple Pay. Those with Samsung smartphones can choose to pay with Samsung Pay. Chase Bank just announced Chase Pay. Paypal and Square Cash are also in the game. And of course, retailers like Starbucks have their own payment apps.

You can add new payment cards to Android Pay by snapping a picture of it, and then providing the security code. If your bank isn't participating, you won’t be able to add that card to Android Pay until Google and the card issuer decide to cooperate. At a retail store, just unlock your phone and wave it over the payment terminal. You can keep track of payments in the app. If you should lose your phone, there's no need to cancel all your cards. Use the Android Device Manager to lock your phone, set a new password, or remotely wipe it.

Google says that 1 million retail terminals can accept Android Pay right now, and more retailers will be coming aboard rapidly. Merchants accepting Android Pay include Walgreens, but not Walmart. You can pay at BJ's, but not Costco. McDonald's, but not Burger King. Office Depot and Staples are on board, but not Home Depot or Lowes.

I can’t think of a more confusing way to introduce two new apps and retire an old one. But the long-awaited Android Pay is here. Android Pay works with Android Kit Kat and more recent versions. Your phone must have NFC (Near Field Communications) capability, as all recent models do. Unlike Apple Pay, a fingerprint scanner is optional with Android Pay.

Android Pay has a long way to go. But at least it’s finally off the ground. How do you feel about using a digital wallet app? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Android Pay Is Here"

Posted by:

Brad Tomlinson
30 Oct 2015

I installed it when it first came out, and I am enjoying using it. I have had a couple of instances where my Android Pay transaction was not approved. Apparently Google was not sure I was the rightful owner of the smartphone I was using even though I was properly signed on to my phone. I just wipped out my Google Wallet card to complete the transaction. I have not had that happen in a while, and maybe Google had to work out a couple of kinks. I have a local bank linked to my Android Pay account, and apparently that has not caused any problems. My bank told me that they will be one of the "approved" banks next year. Overall, I am happy with Android Pay, and I recommend that people use it.

Posted by:

Anita Lee
30 Oct 2015

Hope you let us know when all these bugs are worked out. I will wait until then.

Posted by:

Darl H
30 Oct 2015

While this sounds like a cool, easy way to pay for goods & services, it appears it will be much simpler to use once it is more universally accepted everywhere.

For the time being, I will stick with credit cards. It appears they offer more protection and they offer rewards. As long as the credit card rewards battles continue, it will be credit cards for me!

Posted by:

Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries
30 Oct 2015

@Darl H: When you use Android Pay, you are using whatever you set up as your default payment method. Choose a credit card, and the protections are the same.

I have Android Pay and Google Wallet, and I love both apps. Very easy to use, and they do what I tell them to. I've had no problems.

Posted by:

Beverly Howard
30 Oct 2015

Very frustrating... I used, and liked, wallet for a couple of years to pay with ccards until it stopped working a number of months ago.

imho, android pay is a disaster. If you look at the play store reviews, the ones left since pay was introduced are overwhelming negative... what they did is leave the wallet ratings left before pay and since wallet ratings were excellent the current pay app rating is very deceptively high.

The big negative for me is that using pay forces you to lock your phone. Since I rarely go out in the real world, for me it is a non starter. In addition, I spent the better part of an hour reactivating my cards and other configurations, but when I later turned off the device lock, the next time I used pay, all of that work was erased without notification.

To add insult to injury, pay kept reactivating itself after I disabled it, and then it would regularly crash with the "unfortunately..." messages. I think I finally drove the stake through it's heart by forcing stop and unchecking notifications in the apps settings.

Many, many problems posted in the reviews... and, per normal, none of them were addressed by the couple of updates that came in before I killed it.

Posted by:

Byron M
30 Oct 2015

I have never used Google Wallet and don't plan to use Android Pay either. I tried PayPal which was a nightmare with so many hidden and added service fees. I will stick to my bank and Trusteer Endpoint Protection along with using a PrePaid Credit card via my bank which I can load with just enough to pay for a transaction online. Advice I received from a hacker is; don't use wireless devices for financial transactions, use a hard wired computer/device. Anything transmitted over a wireless network is vulnerable. For many transactions, like charitable donations, I still use a Bank Money Order and a postage stamp. Anything transmitted over the Internet by any means is open to being intercepted by hackers and or the Cyber Cops/Government Spy Agencies. Nothing is totally private or secure once it is transmitted into Cyber Space.

Posted by:

31 Oct 2015

I have a Dunkin Donuts app but sometimes I think that it is more trouble then it is worth. I have a credit card and a debit that work just fine, although the new chip seems to slow the whole pay process down. I think that, for the most part, I'll just stick to cash.

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