How does Pay with Google Work?

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First announced at Google’s I/O (Innovation in the Open) conference earlier this year, Pay with Google aims to simplify the checkout process for billions of consumers around the world.  Instead of entering tedious financial information into online forms, they need only tap the Pay with Google button to retrieve previously stored payment methods.  Google expects its new payment service to increase customer satisfaction and reduce the chances of abandoned shopping carts.  So far 15 merchants have signed on, including StubHub, Airbnb, and Spot Hero.

How does Pay with Google differ from Google Wallet and Android Pay?

All of Google’s different payment services can cause confusion, so we’ve put together a basic overview to help clarify things:

  • Google Wallet was launched in 2011 to compete with Apple Pay for NFC-based transactions in stores; however, it never gained the desired traction in this market.  In 2015, Google decided to launch a new and improved mobile wallet in the form of Android Pay.  At that point, Google Wallet became primarily a peer-to-peer mobile money transfer app.  (Read our guide to the best P2P payment apps.)
  • Android Pay lets customers store credit debit, gift, and loyalty cards in a virtual wallet, just like Apple Pay.  It can be used to pay for both in-store and online/in-app purchases from supported retailers.
  • Pay with Google is not a wireless payment service like Android Pay, meaning that it can’t communicate with a point of sale terminal using Near Field Communication.  However, it is similar to Android Pay in that it provides a central storage location for bank and credit card data in order to streamline payments.  Pay with Google lets customers quickly retrieve any of the payment methods they have previously used on a Google-owned site or product, including YouTube and Google Play.

How can retailers adopt Pay with Google?

Most retailers with a website or app can adopt Pay with Google.  The Google Payment API (application program interface) can be incorporated into any mobile website in Chrome or into any Android App.  The API is native to Chrome, YouTube, Google Play, and Android Pay and open to third-party developers.  

The quick set-up process requires under 10 lines of code.  New merchants can begin accepting Pay with Google in less than a week, after integration with their payment processor (like Braintree, Paysafe, Worldpay, etc.) is complete.  There are no transaction fees, at least while Google attains a critical mass of early adopters, so there’s minimal downside in terms of cost.

How does Pay with Google work for customers?

After customers select the “Pay with Google” button at checkout, they’ll be asked to confirm their purchase with either a security code or their Android device.  Then Google transmits the payment information, as well as the customer’s shipping address, to the merchant.  It takes just four taps.  Customers can also take advantage of Pay with Google’s loyalty features and targeted offers that are triggered by spending habits and geographic locations.

In summary, Pay with Google’s ease of use; no-fee, mobile-driven strategy; and extensive potential user base, make it an appealing option for large and growing retailers alike.


Marisa Fasciano
Content Specialist
Marisa is a communications consultant based in New York with a background in social research, diversity education, and nonprofit development.  She has lived and traveled abroad extensively… Read more

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