What is Google Pay?
Announced in early 2018, Google Pay is the consolidated platform that brings together Android Pay, Google Wallet and Chrome's payment info features into one brand. Consumers can link their debit and credit cards to their Google account, like millions already have, and use their account as a payment option for both online and in-store purchases. Users can also use the app to transfer money between each other.
How it works
As with Android Pay, you can give customers the option of paying at the counter with their Android phones using contactless NFC technology installed on their phone and your card reader. To accept Google Pay transactions at your register, you'll need an NFC-enabled reader and POS system that are both compatible. Fortunately, most major POS systems and hardware providers are Google Pay partners. If you're already set up to accept Android Pay, then there's no need to change or upgrade anything – for in-store transactions, it's essentially just a name change.
Google Pay can be implemented into your online stores for both desktop and mobile. In your online checkout, customers can simply click a big "buy with Google Pay" button you'll add to your website. For customers, this is a major convenience, as it's just a one-click process for them instead of entering in their payment information. Users just need to save their information with one source rather than with all the online stores they frequent.
You can start using Google Pay on your online store two different ways. You can program it to your online store through the Google Pay API yourself. You need to apply for a Google merchant ID and be approved by Google to implement the Google Pay API. This requires a bit of coding knowledge, but if you're not comfortable working directly with the API, several online POS services can come integrated with Google Pay, including major ones like Shopify, Checkout.com and Stripe.
You can find a full list of partners for in-store and online implementation here.
While providing a convenient way for your customers to check out either with their phone or online with the Google account, Google Pay has added several more features to incentivize customers to keep coming back.
Reward and gift cards
Google Pay has added the ability to store your business's reward cards or loyalty program so your customers can automatically add or spend reward points when they check out with Google Pay. The same goes for gift cards, with customers able to track their balance and use gift cards as a payment method at checkout. If a customer has a physical reward or gift card, they can easily add it to their Google Pay account by either scanning it in with their phone or inputting the card number. This makes participating in your loyalty program and taking advantage of offers much more convenient for customers, resulting in more repeat customers who won't have to carry multiple cards and coupons everywhere with them.
Google Pay has a feature that allows users to locate nearby businesses that accept Google Pay. If your business is a member of Google Pay and appears on Google Maps, your store will appear on this list as well.
Tickets and passes
This is a specialty feature that applies to relatively few businesses, but a powerful one. If your business sells event tickets or transportation passes, the Google Pay API can be customized to store these tickets on your customers' phones. Customers can then show their tickets with barcodes on their screen for scanning.
Google Pay's Send feature can be used to send and accept commercial payments. For example, you can use it to collect rent or payment for service. Keep in mind that you'll have to fill out a W-9 tax form if your yearly transactions come to more than 200 transactions or $20,000 in gross receipts.