Google announced on the 20th February in an announcement blog that Android Pay is being rebranded as part their new service, Google Pay (not to be confused with Google Play). If you already use Android Pay, then you’ll have received an e-mail from Google outlining the changes that are happening to Android Pay. If not, here’s what it says:
“We’re bringing all the different ways to pay with Google into one brand: Google Pay. It’ll now be easier for you to use the payment info saved to your Google Account to pay online, in millions of stores, and across Google products like the Assistant, Chrome, and Google Play.
In the next few days, your Android Pay app will update to Google Pay. You’ll find all your saved cards and offers in the new app, and you’ll be able to use Google Pay everywhere you use Android Pay now – including any place that accepts contactless payments. Plus, the app will have a fresh look and a few new features to explore.”
What’s the difference?
As well as a new name, Google Pay brings a new interface. As before, launching the app will first present you with your default payment card, but now you’ve got a list of your three most recent purchases on the home screen. Scrolling down reveals handy tips such as lists of shops and apps which accept Google Pay. On the cards tab, you can manage all your payment, loyalty and gift cards - as well as add new ones. Realistically, there isn’t much difference with the app layout, but you can be rest assured the new app has all the same features of the old app - nothing is going.
Source: Google Blog
The other major difference is that Google Pay is now gearing towards in-app and web purchases, situations where you would otherwise fill out your card number and security details. As well as simplifying the online shopping experience, it will vastly improve the security of your transactions. Google Pay uses transaction tokens and virtual card numbers which place more separation between you and the merchant. In many cases, this could be deemed as unnecessary, but if the merchant has been compromised, this will save you from losing all your card details. You can think of the new Google Pay as a hybrid of contactless payments and ‘PayPal-like’ online shopping - the best of offline and online.
How do I get the update?
You don’t need to do anything at all, simple. In its own time, the Android Pay app will receive an automatic update through the Google Play Store, and one morning you’ll simply notice a new icon on your home screen. If you have automatic updates switched off, you might need to open Google Play Store and manually trigger the update, otherwise, you’ll forever be stuck with Android Pay, which will probably stop working in the future.
Android Pay updated on the 21st February on my smartphone, after receiving the e-mail earlier the same day.
Why is Google moving Android Pay into Google Pay?
Down to the really interesting question. It’s simple enough for the company to rebrand their payments app, but why is it necessary? There are a few reasons, but fundamentally I think it’s about simplifying Google’s services. Before the Google Pay rebrand, Google had Google Wallet for in-app and Play Store purchases and Android Pay for contactless purchases. Google Pay unites these two under one name, which makes the service easier to recognise and it creates a more obvious link between the services.
It’s also interesting to note that Google Pay is becoming more like Apple Pay, the equivalent payment service for iOS. Apple Pay has supported in-app and web purchases for a while now, which Google Pay aims to provide, but Google Pay can also be used in a desktop web browser. Who’s to say that Google won’t release a Google Pay app for iOS allowing iPhone users to use Google Pay within apps. After all, Google appears to be striving for Android / iOS uniformity, evidenced by the plethora of Google apps supported by both operating systems.
At the end of the day, the Android Pay rebrand should be a painless procedure, because it’s little more than just a name change for most people. If you use Android Pay for contactless payments, you can use Google Pay in exactly the same way - I have first-hand experience of this. Simply unlock your smartphone (if it’s less than £30, you only need to wake it up) and hold it near the contactless card terminal, as you normally would.
What do you think of the new name for Android Pay? Did it take you surprise? Has your smartphone received the update yet? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments below.
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