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The complete guide to Google Pay in the UK: QR code payments coming to Google Pay?

You could soon be generating codes for P2P payment

Mobile QR Payment

Google's contactless payments service, Google Pay, is now available in the UK, allowing British customers to use their mobile device for in-store transactions.

This guide contains everything you need to know about Google Pay, including which banks and devices support it, how it works and which retail locations you can use it at.

Latest News:

25/09/2018: It looks like Google Pay will soon be getting QR code support, allowing for peer-to-peer payments. 

The evidence for this comes from Twitter's Jane Manchun Wong, who has been quite prolific at finding upcoming features via hidden code in apps in the past. Her tweet suggests that Google Pay will be able to generate a QR code for other users to scan, meaning it's presumably aimed at one-off payments to people, rather than a replacement for your established contact list.

It could be very useful, but so far it remains just a rumour – and even if it is confirmed, it may be confined to specific regions. Watch this space. 

02/07/2018: Features from Google Wallet are shortly set to appear in Google Pay itself, according to reports.

The features, still currently offered as part of the Google Pay Send app, the tech giant's successor to Wallet, are being transferred over to Google Pay itself, according to XDA Developers, meaning Pay Send will probably be retired shortly.

Even if Google Pay users haven't installed the Google Pay Send app, they will still be able to activate the peer-to-peer payment functionality within Google Pay to successfully send a payment, XDA said.

Tapping on the "send money" button brings up a page where you can send or request money from either an existing contact or a new contact. Even a group request can be made on this page.

Once this feature rolls out in the US and UK, users will no longer need to install the separate Google Pay Send app to take advantage of the peer-to-peer payment functionality. For now, users will have to keep both apps installed if they want to send or receive money to or from other people.

07/05/2018: Not wanting to be limited just to Google-branded smartphones and tablets, Google has started rolling out its Google Pay payment facility to iOS devices and browsers, including its own Chrome browser as well as Mozilla's Firefox.

This means Google users will be able to save their card details to Google Pay and then use it to pay for goods on any computer (as long as they're using a supported browser), Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, without having to enter card details manually. If you're using Chrome, you won't even need to enter your shipping details either - they're all automatically synced, which is great if you're short on time.

"We’re starting to roll out Google Pay on the web from desktop and iOS — which means you’ll start seeing it when you’re shopping on browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, no matter your device," Gerardo Capiel, product management director of Google's Consumer Payments division, said in a blog post. "If you save a card to Google Pay on your Pixelbook, you'll be able to use it on the web with another device."

Google Pay's rival, Apple Pay, currently only supports its payment solution on iOS devices and Mac desktops via the Safari browser, giving Google Pay a slight edge, although whether or not it'll take off on a computer browser remains to be seen.

21/02/2018: Google has now launched Google Pay as its primary payment rival to Apple Pay, effectively merging Google Pay and Google Wallet together into a single service.

The new G-Pay app is Google's third attempt to create a contactless payment platform, allowing users to pay for goods in stores with their smartphone, although Google also promises UK and US customers the option to transfer money between friends and family in the next few months - features that until now have only been available separately through Google Pay and Google Wallet respectively.

It's Google's latest effort to streamline the services it offers in order to ensure users have the same experience across devices, and allow it to expand beyond Android-only products.

G-Pay offers the same functionality as Google Pay, allowing users to also pay on public transport networks that operate cardless payments, as well as online on those sites that support the app. 

A Home section on Google Pay shows a list of recent transactions as well as suggestions on which stores to visit that accept contactless payments, and a Cards section shows what debit, credit and loyalty cards you have synced with the app, much like the old Google Pay screen.

Google has also set up support tools on its developer site for those businesses looking to integrate Google Pay into their websites or apps, which is available here.

Google Pay officially launched on Tuesday and is available through the Play Store - there's no sign of an iOS version just yet. Users who have Google Pay already installed on their device will see it switch over to Google Pay once the app updates.

What is Google Pay?

Similar to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, Google Pay is a mobile app that functions as a digital wallet, allowing you to make payments as well as managing your credit, debit, gift and loyalty cards.

The service effectively functions as a digital version of a contactless bank card - simply open the app and touch your device to a contactless payment terminal in order to pay for goods and services.

Which devices & banks support Google Pay?

As one of Google's brand new flagship services, Google Pay is compatible with all devices running Android KitKat 4.4 and above. In order to use the contactless payment feature, you'll need to have an NFC-enabled device.

However, to use the app at all, you'll also need to be a customer of one of the banks currently supporting Google Pay. Supported banks include Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide. Now RBS, NatWest, Santander and Ulster Bank also support the app, while TSB will support it from October 2016.

Where can I use Google Pay?

You can use Google Pay anywhere that supports contactless payment. While several major high street retailers have explicitly stated that they support Android Pay, shops don't need to make any changes in order to support it, so you can use it just like you would a contactless bank card.

This means that you can also use it on London transport services that support contactless payment, including trains, tubes and buses. Emirates is also offering its airline customers the chance to pay for tickets using Google Pay.

You can also use Google Pay with other services and third-party apps. The apps supporting it currently include: Deliveroo, Fancy, Hotel Tonight, JD Sports, JustPark, LoungeBuddy, Showroomprive.com, Takeaway.com, Vueling, YPlan and Zara.

How does Google Pay work?

First of all, you can download the app from the Google Play store. Open the app up and add a credit or debit card to it - or simply choose to add an existing card if you've already got one linked to your Play account.

Once you've done that, you're ready to use Google Pay by simply holding it up to compatible contactless payment readers when the phone is unlocked. A notification will confirm that the payment is complete.

For users who want to use PayPal (as of May 2017 only available in the US) they must select it when it appears as a payment option in the app. They will also need to set a new PIN and decide which card or bank account PayPal should draw funds from, or use their PayPal credit balance. In addition to this, users can also enjoy a simplified payment experience through Chrome mobile by paying with PayPal via fingerprint recognition - bypassing usernames and passwords.

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