Google Pay: the review
Robyn Hamilton
Staff Writer

Three of Ireland’s five major banks now carry Google Pay, Google’s version of Apple Pay, which is an app that allows current account holders to pay for items at point-of-sale in a similar fashion to how one pays using contactless. Simply tap your phone at the terminal to pay for items under €30. Find our review of the app below.

Part 1: Getting set up

After recently purchasing an NFC*-enabled Android phone (one of the phone specification requirements needed in order for Google Pay to work) a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to try out Google Pay.

Setting up couldn’t have been easier. I just downloaded the app from the Play Store for free, registered my debit card and was good to go! You don’t need to carry your card with you once you have registered it to your phone.

You can also register more than one card and set the one that you use the most as your default, so I also added my credit card.

Part 2: Using the Google Pay app

I was pleased to find that using Google Pay in-store was just as easy as the contactless process which I’ve become so used to and love for its handiness. All you have to do is tap your phone on the card terminal for purchases of up to €30.

There was no trouble at all, though I must admit I felt a little silly getting my phone ready because the cashier and people behind me in the queue were looking at me fiddling with my phone, presumably expecting me to be getting my card ready to pay. This was little more than a moment of mild awkwardness, and I expect this will change in time as cardless transactions become more popular with customers.

Part 3: Post-purchase

After you purchase something using Google Pay you are sent a push notification detailing the amount that you spent.

If you go into the app you can view a record of all of your recent transactions which tells you when, where and how much you spent. I thought this was a handy feature to help keep track of spending.

Is Google Pay worth it?

Some might criticise Google Pay as being a gimmicky version of contactless but in my opinion, it’s definitely worth the few minutes it takes to set up. It means that you don’t need to be worried about cards when you are out and about and because the app generates a new virtual card number every time you purchase something, your real card details are never actually shared with a shop. This means that Google Pay is more secure than using a physical card.

You can also stop worrying about having your cards stolen! If you lose your phone you can immediately lock your Google Pay with a new password and wipe it clean of all personal information through the Android Device Manager.

Also, since there’s no access to your card details on your phone, you won’t have to go through the pain of cancelling your cards. Happy days!

How to get Google Pay:

If you like the sound of Google Pay and you have a current account with Ulster Bank, AIB or KBC as well as owning an NFC-enabled Android phone running on KitKat 4.4 or higher; all you have to do to get in on the action is download the app from the Play Store now.

Don’t have Android?

Are you an iPhone user? You might be interested in Apple Pay. Read more about it here. If you're a KBC customer you might also be interested in the likes of FitBit Pay or Garmin Pay which are available to KBC current account holders. 

*Near-field communication (NFC) is technology that allows two electronic devices to communicate by bringing them within 4 cm of each other.