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What is Google Pay, and how does it work? It is, in essence, Google’s own alternative to Apple Pay. So whether you are browsing for a new t-shirt online or buying your morning coffee, this mobile wallet and payment service can do the job for you. It allows people to connect their credit and debit cards, as well as bank accounts, to pay at checkout both in-store and online, and send money to others.

Mobile payments are becoming increasingly popular in Europe as well as globally. Many people can no longer imagine life without them as tapping your mobile phone or smartwatch is just much easier and faster than fishing out your plastic card. And contactless payments have also seen a boom in usage due to more strict hygiene measures. Currently, in Europe, the major mobile payment apps are Apple Pay and Google Pay. While Apple Pay is limited to iPhone users, Google Pay crosses platforms, meaning you can use it whether you are an iOS or Android user.

Google Pay started as a merger of two online payment services – Google Wallet and Android Pay – in 2018. But Google hasn’t gained as much traction with people as Apple for getting them to use mobile phones for payments. So Google is switching gears now and wants people to think of Google Pay as a better alternative to multiple digital wallets and payment apps. Starting in the U.S., Google is launching a redesigned Google Pay app on Android and iOS. The new version brings a sweeping number of changes turning this tap-to-pay app into something larger.

The new Google Pay app focuses on the friends and businesses you transact with most frequently. Each transaction is secured with your UPI PIN (Unified Payments Interface Personal Identification Number), and you can safeguard your account with a device lock method such as your fingerprint. You can pay, see past transactions and find offers and loyalty information. All is organized around your relationships and conversations. If you need to split lunch, or other expenses with more than one person, you can create a group, split the bill, and keep track of who has paid in a single place. The app would even do the math on who owes what. You can also use Google Pay to order food at restaurants, buy gas at gas stations, pay for parking and redeem offers without the hassle of clipping coupons, all from within the app.

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Google Pay can also understand and automatically organize your spending. This lets you search across your transactions in new ways. For example, you can search for “food”, “last month”, or “Italian restaurants” and Google Pay will instantly find the relevant transactions. But it doesn’t share your transaction history data with third parties or with the rest of Google for targeting ads.

Google has also been working with financial institutions to create Plex, a new mobile-first bank account service integrated into Google Pay. First U.S.-based banks will start offering Plex accounts in Google Pay during this year.

The older version is still fully operational, however, its days are obviously coming to an end. At least in the U.S. where Google is informing users that it will stop working already in April.


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