How does Google Pay work in the UK? A complete guide

Mobile QR Payment

Google Pay has been available for customers in the UK for quite some time now, but how does it work?

The contactless payments service allows customers to use their mobile devices for in-store transactions in a matter of seconds, making paying on-the-go easier than ever.

Previously known as Google Wallet, the payments function was officially launched in 2018 after merging with Android Pay to create one singular payments platform for users.

Google Pay can be used on both Android and iOS phones, making it an extremely convenient method of payment. Business users can also generate QR codes to accept payments, which greatly speeds up the buying process.

Payments via Google Pay can be authorized in a number of ways, including by inputting your pin or password, fingerprint scanning, or facial recognition on your phone. This is very similar to how Apple Pay or Samsung Pay works, for example.

This guide contains everything you need to know about Google Pay, including which banks support it, how the payment feature works, and which physical and online retailers it can be used with.

How does Google Pay work in the UK?

Using Google Pay on an Android phone for in-store purchases is fairly easy, and no different to tapping your debit or credit card on a payment terminal at the cash desk, providing that NFC is turned on.

However, for iPhone users, the situation is quite different. Users can’t technically make contactless payments in-store using their device, which can be extremely inconvenient.

There is a small workaround, though. Some businesses accept payments through Google Pay by offering QR codes, enabling the user to send payments for services or goods via this method.

Most of your staple banks and financial institutions support Google Pay, making it convenient to link your accounts to the payments platform and start spending.

The list of approved banks for Google Pay includes:

  • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
  • Barclays
  • Nationwide
  • NatWest
  • TSB
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Starling Bank
  • Santander
  • Revolut
  • Monzo
  • American Express

Where can I use Google Pay?

Most high street retailers support Google Pay for contactless payments, which is the same for the Apple Pay equivalent.

The payments platform can also be used for transport networks across the country, meaning you can use it on London transport services that support contactless payment. This includes train, tube, and bus services.

Google Pay is also extremely easy to use for online purchases and payments, which the company has been keen to emphasize in recent years.

The app can be used to make purchases on any retail websites that support Google Pay. The number of retail sites that support Google Pay has grown rapidly since its launch several years ago, making it extremely convenient.

A range of third-party services also support Google Pay, such as Deliveroo or JustEat, albeit only on support devices.

Alan Martin

After a false career start producing flash games, Alan Martin has been writing about phones, wearables and internet culture for over a decade with bylines all over the web and print.

Previously Deputy Editor of Alphr, he turned freelance in 2018 and his words can now be found all over the web, on the likes of Tom's Guide, The i, TechRadar, NME, Gizmodo, Coach, T3, The New Statesman and ShortList, as well as in the odd magazine and newspaper.

He's rarely seen not wearing at least one smartwatch, can talk your ear off about political biographies, and is a long-suffering fan of Derby County FC (which, on balance, he'd rather not talk about). He lives in London, right at the bottom of the Northern Line, long after you think it ends.

You can find Alan tweeting at @alan_p_martin, or email him at