Everything you need to know about the artist formerly known as Android Pay
Sometimes you’re out for a run without your wallet or phone. You’re dying of thirst and need a drink, but you have no way to pay. That’s no longer a problem thanks to Google Pay, the contactless service which recently shifted names from Android Pay.
The feature joined the fray with Android Wear 2.0 back in February last year, meaning, like Apple Watch users, Wear fans can now complete transactions with a tap of their wrist, too.
So how does Google Pay work, and who can use it? We’ve put together a handy little guide to help you figure it out.
What smartwatches have Google Pay?
Not enough, sadly. We’ve long called for smartwatch payments to be a standard feature, and that idea has begun to take hold in the world of Fitbit and Garmin, but Android Wear is lagging behind.
You’ll need an Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch with NFC. Thus far, Fossil Group has provided a good majority of the Android Wear options out there, but the company has told us it’s hesitant to jump into Google Pay until all territories can offer it, as it doesn’t want to launch features that only some users can take advantage of.
LG Watch Sport
The LG Watch Sport is still the best overall Android Wear smartwatch you can buy, which is a little disappointing given that it’s getting a little long in the tooth.
$349, lg.com | Amazon
Huawei Watch 2
Rather than build on the success of the original Huawei Watch, the company went and turned the sequel into a less impressive LG Watch Sport. This is still a good watch, don’t get us wrong, but we can’t help think about what could have been.
$199.99, huawei.com | Amazon
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45/41
One of the most expensive Android Wear devices you can get, the Connected Modular 45 is certainly a great luxury smartwatch. You’ve got a unique modular design that lets you customize your experience plus every smartwatch feature under the sun.
If you’re looking for something a little smaller, there is the Connected Modular 41, which gives you all the same great Tag Heuer smartwatch action in a more svelte package. Well, except for two lovely improvements: 8GB of storage and 1GB of RAM – double of the 45’s. Those prices though.
41: $1,200, tagheuer.com
45: $1,650, tagheuer.com
Movado brings its sleek, unique watch design to the smartwatch world. It also brings its sensibilities to a series of unique, exciting watch faces that you can’t get anywhere else. This is the latest smartwatch to feature Google Pay.
As for supporting banks, Google continues to bring new names onboard, and you can view an updated list of all the Google Pay-participating banks here.
How to set up Google Pay on your watch
The first thing you’ll need to do is get the Google Pay app up and running on your phone. Once you do this, make sure the Google Pay app is also on your watch. If you haven’t already, you’ll be prompted to make a security lock screen during the Pay setup process.
Now, the simplest way to set up Google Pay on your watch is to first add cards to the Google Pay app. All you have to do is open the Google Pay app on your phone and add a new debit or credit card to your account. You can either scan your credit card or add the details in manually.
Once you do that, you may have to verify your card with your bank, a process that can depend on what bank you have. You may get a verification code via text or email. You may have to sign in to your banking app. Or you can even call your bank for the code. The simplest option, and hopefully the option you get, is a temporary verification charge, usually of $1, to your account.
Once you’ve done that, open up Google Pay on your watch and add a new card. You’ll then be directed to your phone to add a credit or debit card. If you followed this guide, you’ve likely already done this step, so all you have to do is select which card (if you entered multiple cards) you want to shoot over to your watch. You’ll then have to enter a security code, accept some terms and conditions and, voila, your smartwatch will have a payment option – subject to another verification code, of course.
One note about that screen lock: You won’t have to enter it every time you use Google Pay, but you will if you take your watch off since your last transaction.
If you’d like to delete a card, just tap on it when it appears, and scroll down to the bottom of the page. There, you can drag up the options and hit ‘Remove”.
How to use Google Pay
Now that you’ve done the tough grunt work of adding your card to your watch, the rest is easy peasy. On the LG Watch Sport and the Huawei Watch 2 you can use one of the side buttons as a shortcut for Google Pay (which is a feature we’d love to see more Android Wear watches take on). Alternatively you can add it as a widget on the watch face. A simple tap of that or the physical button will then instantly activate Pay. You should see a picture of your card and an instruction to ‘Hold to terminal…’. Hold the watch up to the payment terminal as instructed and you’re done.
And that’s it. The only other possible step, previously mentioned, is entering your passcode if your watch needs to verify that it’s really you before you splash out on $50 worth of Ben & Jerry’s.
You don’t need your smartphone with you to do this – and you don’t need a SIM card inside a cellular-equipped Wear watch. Your smartwatch essentially stores the card and the payment point does the connectivity bit to your bank.
How it compares to the competition
The basic function of Android, Samsung and Apple Pay is the same across all three – tap the terminal to pay – but they differ when it comes to who supports what.
The biggest advantage of Samsung Pay is that the Gear S3 has something called MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission), which basically allows it to work at any terminal where you can swipe a debit or credit card. This Samsung Pay advantage doesn’t work for all Samsung wearables though, as the new Gear Sportdoes not feature MST built-in. So on that device, Samsung Pay will function similar to Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Samsung Pay also now works with non-Samsung Android phones. The downside? It’s only available in the US for now, so UK has to wait a while longer to use it.
Apple has also lifted the spending cap for its payment platform – at least in the UK.