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Android Pay FAQ: Everything you need to know about Google's mobile payment system

Derek Walter | Dec. 8, 2016
We cover everything from setting up Android Pay, using it as your go-to payment tool, and even saving all of your loyalty and rewards offers.

Yes, Android Pay can work with merchants that support this feature. You’ll need to be using Chrome and one of a handful of supported merchants.

android pay chrome browser 
Sites like Groupon now support Android Pay on the web if you’re using Chrome.

Google says that Groupon.com and 1-800-Flowers.com support the feature, while more are coming down the line. Chrome has long included a capability to save a credit card, but this goes a step further by tying online payments directly to Android Pay.

So is Android Pay different from Google Wallet?

Yes. Google Wallet got ye ol’ “Google Pivot” and is now strictly focused on peer-to-peer payments, just like Venmo or Paypal. It’s a completely separate service. However, it works very well for sending and receiving money without any fees. Recommended for your fantasy league.

How is it different from Apple Pay?

Apple Pay requires a retailer with specific terminal that supports Android Pay—just any ol’ NFC terminal won’t necessarily do it. Additionally, Apple Pay only works with iPhone 6 and above, as a fingerprint sensor is required. On Android, a PIN, password, or pattern will work if you have a phone that doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor.

Apple Pay also lets you pay with the Apple Watch, while Android Pay doesn't yet support tapping your watch to the payment terminal.

What about compared to Samsung Pay?

The major claim to fame for Samsung Pay it that, in addition to NFC, it can use Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), which allows you to pay with your phone at terminals that don’t support NFC. It tricks the "swipe your card" reader into thinking it has swiped your Samsung Pay card. The downside is that it only works with a limited number of Samsung smartphones: the Galaxy S6 (and variants), Galaxy S7 (and variants), and Note5. It now works with the Gear S3 watch, too.

It it secure?

Android Pay sends a virtual account number to the merchant, so your actual credit card details aren’t shared. The major difference between Google and Apple’s payment techniques is that Apple Pay uses a Secure Element, which lives on a physical chip inside the phone for storing encrypted financial data. Android Pay, just as Google Wallet did, uses Host Card Emulation. In Google fashion, this means the encrypted information is stored in the cloud.

Android Pay will require you to have a screen lock on your phone so that no one can swipe your phone and then start racking up your card. However, you should always use good security practices and monitor your account to ensure that nothing unseemly has taken place.

 

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