back to article Google Pay heads for the desktop... and, we fear, an inevitable flop

Apple enabled payments in macOS Sierra in 2016, and it failed to set the world on fire. Will Google's move to support its own payment system on desktop web browsers fare any better? Maybe. On the desktop, Apple only supports Apple Pay via its own Safari browser, while Google promised this week to support Firefox and Safari as …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gone right off Google's services at the moment.

    They have just announced that low volume users of Google Maps will now have to lodge credit card details with them. They offer a $200 "free" threshold on the automatic billing to cater for such users.

    Useful as the map has been there's no way I'm giving them an "Open Sesame" to my credit card based on accesses to my web page by any Tom, Dick, or Bot. I can develop a different graphical presentation that doesn't need their maps.

  2. Simon Ward

    Basically, you give Google your bank card so you can spend money online via Google.

    There isn't enough "FUCK, NO!" in the world for this.

    1. cantankerous swineherd

      ditto Amazon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Basically, you give Google your bank card so you can spend money online via Google."

      That's not how it actually works though, this is a clickbait headline that hides behind halftruths and wihite lies.

      The sheer incompetence of the technical accuracy of The Register is shameful, and you should be embarrassed by it.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
        FAIL

        And yet you still seem to have failed in explaining how it really works.

      2. Kristian Walsh

        ...and despite calling out the author for 'technical inaccuracy', you don't back up your assertion with any information about how it 'actually works', and how that's different to the article's summary.

        Some factual statements: The customer does give the Google payment system access to their credit card account (not the card, but the account at their bank that backs it), they do use the Google Pay desktop system for online transactions, and these transactions are processed by Google.

        Or, more succinctly: "Basically, you give Google your bank card so you can spend money online via Google."

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Chrome malware

    No need to worry about your card info being compromised in Chrome, I'm sure...

    1. joed

      Re: Chrome malware

      Technically this can be done securely - make a purchase from any computer (that you find convenient to browse/do research) while signed in with Google account but approve the payment from a "secure" mobile device linked to the same account. Apple has the advantage of providing now both iOS and macOS devices that have all the necessary hardware built in, but technically this increases the risk of fraudulent transaction (more devices with your payment information) no matter how secure the base system was. BTW, Google had the desktop version for years (Google Wallet?) or was it just PayPal alternative? I recall using it like once (way back) and didn't bother to update any of my info (or worse yet, link it my disposable Google account linked to just as disposable - and by now expired - gifted prepaid CC). I do use Apple Pay but I have no particular urge to have all my web activity and purchases tracked by Google or MS (sure as hell the'd like me to sign in to Windows with their account, use Edge and their crap Store).

  4. JohnFen Silver badge

    Don't be ridiculous

    Give Google my banking details?? Hahahaha!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't be ridiculous

      Give Google full details of everything you buy??

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barriers to entry

    Here in the states I use apple pay whenever I can. It's great when it works, but the incumbent players have been fighting tooth an nail to keep them out. Android/Google Pay is in the same boat.

    While people can make some fair arguments about the risk of letting an aggressive monopolist dominate another market, the established players here just want to maintain the status quo. The big credit card/payment networks have a far to cozy relationship with the merchant banks and the POS vendors and installers. Big chains in the US drag their heels for decades to avoid updating their terminals, and in the case of Target, after their breech installed non-upgradeable terminals that would not support mobile payments.

    Instead they are propping up an insecure, slow, and archaic system the Europe left behind years ago, mainly because of the fees that they can tack on. It's 2018, transaction fees shouldn't be more than a nickel on small transactions.

    Instead, i've seen the POS weasels pushing out new firmware that interferes with phone payments by adding unneeded nag screens, and in some cases actually asking for a pin code on the terminal. Where exactly is that going to go?

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Barriers to entry

      If you're true concern is the established players dominating the market, using Apple Pay doesn't dent that too much. What you should really be doing is paying with cash.

      1. Giles C

        Re: Barriers to entry

        Well I don’t use a bank card when I go to the supermarket, nor do I have any of those so called loyalty cards.

        In fact for most transactions in shops I use cash for anything up to about £25. It is easy accepted and doesn’t tend to break.

        I have an iPhone by have never even thought about enabling Apple Pay.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        It is a lot more complicated, and isn't about * Pay type services

        I don't think companies like Visa, the banks that issue cards, or the processors have a problem with Apple Pay, the percentage they collect is so tiny it hardly matters. The merchants are the ones with the issue, but not so much with Apple Pay but with all the rules and expenses the shift to EMV has imposed on them.

        It might not seem that bad for a small shop with a single checkout, just replace the little credit card machine, right? The problem is that typically the POS vendors won't support that with existing hardware/software so they need to upgrade their POS hardware and software to support the EMV reader, saddling them with thousands in additional cost where of course the EMV promoters were talking about how inexpensive it would be since only the readers would need to be replaced.

        Think about restaurants, in the US the standard way you checkout is to give your card to the server, who goes to a POS terminal, swipes it in a reader that's built into it, prints a receipt, and brings it back for your signature (yeah, I know you right ponders are rolling your eyes at this scenario) That won't work when EMV is fully implemented and uses a PIN instead of signature, because the card owner will need to type in the PIN themselves.

        So restaurants will need portable readers they can hand to the customer to do their thing, and if the customer wants a printed receipt either a portable printer or walking back to a POS terminal to print it. Then they need to add a secure wireless network (they can use WPA2 to insure it is secure....oh wait...) for the portable reader to talk to the POS system for the amount, and to the processor to handle the card. And of course they'll need update to all their POS hardware and software, including the back office 'server' that manages all the terminals, just because, because the POS vendor isn't going to pass up an opportunity to soak them.

        The thing is, currently the only pressure being applied to retailers so far is a liability shift. Previously if someone used a stolen card or otherwise disputed a card, the bank took the hit. Now if a retailer processes a non EMV transaction with an EMV capable card (except for a few exceptions that are given longer to be compliant, like gas pumps) and its disputed, the retailer takes the hit, not the bank. So businesses that rarely see disputed charges have little pressure to upgrade, they can take their time and wait for the technology to mature. Businesses that see a lot of chargebacks haven't had the luxury of waiting, and unfortunately businesses in more crime/fraud prone areas were probably least able to afford it. It will be a few years (I don't think there's even a date yet) before the change is forced, by banks refusing to process non-EMV transactions at all.

        This is why you see recently opened places that bought everything new, and some major chains (especially those which already had aging POS systems so they would have had to replace them anyway) able to support Apple Pay, but most of the smaller locally owned type places are still doing the swipe thing.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          "will need portable readers they can hand"

          You could be surprised to know that exist handheld wireless POS with an embedded printer for the receipt - and they've been in use for years here. Just it looks that too many in the US think "innovation" is a one time thing, you do it once, and never update it. That's usually how civilizations ends.

          Still, the "all eggs in one basket" is something that worries me - having different payment systems available ensure at least one should be available when needed. And if they don't require power, the better.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: "handheld wireless POS"

            Not only that, ANYONE can buy one. They handle Chip & PIN as well as Contactless cards. Argos seem to sell one.

            Sage will flog you the back end service.

            As well as WiFi based, you can also get a 3G based rechargeable portable POS terminal.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: "handheld wireless POS"

              I never said such readers didn't exist, but it is going to cost them a lot of money because:

              1) they will need to upgrade their POS software to support them

              2) their POS vendor may require them to replace their POS hardware (terminals and back office server)

              3) they will need more of them than they have terminals because often a lot of people check out at once (i.e. if the restaurant is located in a town with sports/concerts/etc. where a lot of people want to get something to eat before they to go the event)

              The POS software run in the UK/EU is in general probably not from the same vendors as in the US, so just because you guys have had support for this stuff for years doesn't mean it isn't all new over here.

              1. LDS Silver badge

                "but it is going to cost them a lot of money because"

                Sure, there comes a time when you have to replace your outdated hardware and software. If you want to accept payments from smartphones, you have to do it anyway, it's still NFC stuff.

                Do you believe in Europe shops didn't upgraded their terminals over the past years? One added bonus of portable ones is a dodgy waiter can't skim your card easily, since you never lose sight of it. And of course the number of terminals, wireless or not, depends on the size of you shop.

                It just look in the US companies preferred to charge customers with the cost of frauds, than introducing more advanced technology to counter them.

                Probably also because here you are not given a credit card with each bag of chips, hoping to make you spend and make debts at high interest rates, because we are less gullible, it looks.

                1. Kristian Walsh

                  Re: "but it is going to cost them a lot of money because"

                  There's a fundamental difference between Europe and the USA that you're probably unaware of, which explains why we're up to date and the US isn't.

                  In Europe, the banks run the entire card payment system chain, including leasing the terminal equipment to retailers as part of their card-payment account. The equipment remains the property of the banks. So, if the banks want everyone on Chip+PIN, they can send their merchant-account holders new terminals, and then after a certain date, they stop accepting signature slips (actually they still accept sigs, but the merchant bears the cost of fraud). Even new entrants like Clover and SumUp are still in this model - merchants don't pay the full price of their terminals.

                  In the USA, merchants purchase their payment equipment outright, so it belongs to them, not the banks. If the banks wanted everyone on Chip+PIN (and they do - Credit card fraud in the USA is rampant), but the merchants say "no, I'm not spending any more money this year" then there's no way that any rollout will reach critical mass, and so the country's stuck on magstripe and signature.

              2. Blank Reg

                Re: "handheld wireless POS"

                Here in Canada, we've had chip and pin and contactless payments for years. Sure we have different banks issuing the cards, but we use many of the same POS vendors as the in the US.

                Maybe this is what they mean by American exceptionalism :)

                1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  Re: "handheld wireless POS"

                  what they mean by American exceptionalism

                  They take exeption to anything invented elsewhere?

                  (Especially those eevill commies in Yrope.Why - they believe in *socialised* medicine that delivers better outcomes for less money! How is Big Pharma and hospitals gonna make money out of that eh?)

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: It is a lot more complicated, and isn't about * Pay type services

          "So restaurants will need portable readers they can hand to the customer to do their thing, and if the customer wants a printed receipt either a portable printer"

          That's exactly what happens in the UK and France, and presumably lots of other countries. The portable terminal has a built-in printer for printing out receipts.

          In the UK, we have had this for about 12 years now; in France, for about 25 years.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It is a lot more complicated, and isn't about * Pay type services

          > So restaurants will need portable readers ... portable printer ... secure wireless network

          Just like all restaurants in Europe upgraded to years ago.

          > they can take their time and wait for the technology to mature

          It's already mature. All that's needed is to change the power plug to 2-prong.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: It's already mature

            So also is secure interbank transfer to pay people. You can safely put your IBAN number on your ebay page. German sellers prefer it to PayPal, as in Eurozone there are no fees.

            Curiously though mostly USA doesn't use it, Amazon USA can pay European sellers via IBAN. It's crazy though that people outside USA have to fill in a USA tax declaration to sell outside the USA via a USA company.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Bank_Account_Number

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: It is a lot more complicated, and isn't about * Pay type services

            All that's needed is to change the power plug to 2-prong

            And make sure that the power supply *really* does multi-voltage.. Been there, done that and got the slightly charred result (handheld card reader we were evaluating, supposedly should auto-switch between 120v/240v. Didn't. Released magic smoke. Didn't buy any more of that model..)

        4. Tomato Krill

          Re: It is a lot more complicated, and isn't about * Pay type services

          Spot on.

          What I like most is the current halfway house which I see a lot over there - Chip and.. have a nice day!

          No PIN, no signature..

        5. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: It is a lot more complicated, and isn't about * Pay type services

          "So restaurants will need portable readers they can hand to the customer to do their thing, and if the customer wants a printed receipt either a portable printer or walking back to a POS terminal to print it."

          Lots of restaurants that I go to here in the US have been using these machines for years now.

    2. Davidcrockett

      Re: Barriers to entry

      You don't even have chip and PIN in the US right? I can see the appeal of mobile payments if the alternative is signing a slip, but in the UK at least most cards allow contactless payments now anyway. Waving a phone in front of a terminal rather than a card can only really appeal to ultra minimalists who don't fear flat batteries.

      1. Blank Reg

        Re: Barriers to entry

        @Davidcrockett

        That's how I feel about mobile payments, it's solving a problem that doesn't exist, and adds some of its own. My credit and debit cards have chip and pin and contactless payments, and have for a long time.

        I just tap the card and the payment is made. if it's under $100 then no pin is even needed except at randomly selected intervals. That freaks out some people but my liability for fraud is 0.

        The cards always work, are extremely compact and I don't have to worry about a dead battery or accidentally breaking my card if I drop it. Why would I ever want to use a phone to pay for anything?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Barriers to entry

        Which is why us Appletards wave our wrist at the terminal, no need to get anything out to pay.

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Barriers to entry

        "You don't even have chip and PIN in the US right?"

        We're still in the process of moving everybody to it, but we do have chip & pin, and almost all the major cards support it now.

      4. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Barriers to entry

        Pretty much every time I have been behind someone in a shop or boarding a bus, train or ferry who is using their phone to make a contactless payment, there has been an inevitable delay while they get the phone out, swipe it a couple of times, remember they have to put their PIN in first (or, worse, perform some complicated series of finger movements to unlock it, or stare at it from different angles and pull faces in the hope the facial recognition will work *this* time), swipe up, down, turn it about face, try again, swear, take the phone out of its cover, go through the whole swipe, swipe thing again, until eventually the machine either pings and life can go on, or they start rummaging in their pockets/bags/wallets to see it they can pull together enough cash to pay for the $1 coffee or $1.80 bus ticket they're trying to buy.

        Apple Pay/Samsung Wallet - burn them! Burn them with fire.

  6. katrinab Silver badge

    I have Apple Pay. I use it for in-app purchases, eg buying clothes from Asos, as it is a bit more convenient than getting the card out.

    However, for piint of sale transactions, getting the phone out and getting the card out require the same amount of effort. Using the card requires slightly less effort than using the phone, so I use the card.

    I might actually use Google Pay on the desktop as an alternative to Apple Pay on the iPad. I don’t think my ancient but still working MacBook supports Apple Pay.

    1. Tigger_MK

      I use Apple Pay all the time her in the UK, but mostly with my Apple Watch, so easy, double tap one button and your done.

      I've also found some petrol stations (Shell), have got rid of the £30 contactless limit for Apple Pay.

      1. Henry Blackman

        Shell and BP

        BP have also raised their limit, generally speaking - many/most petrol stations are franchises or otherwise independent businesses so take whatever the bank gives them. Shell however has their excellent app which allows you to pay without going to counter, and get your loyalty points all with Apple Pay (or Paypal - spit).

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Shell and BP

          Most petrol stations over here (I imagine it's the same in Europe - don't know about murica) have had credit/debit card payment at the pump for years. You just swipe your card and fill up - most of them will also print your receipt and allow fleet drivers to enter their mileage (oh all right, kilometrage - is that even a word?), so no need to ever go into the shop at all. Unless you want a hot, gravy filled meat pie to eat while you drive, which seems to be the finger food of choice for Aussie drivers.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Terminator

    Google's online markets monopolies

    "Of Google's dozen, or more, monopolies in online markets and services, Android is one of the most significant."

    No one is prevented from using alternative services. The only people extorting revenue from Android users is Microsoft and it's Android hardware tax.

    "The only thing better than a cow is a human! Unless you need milk. Then you really need a cow"

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Unless you need milk. Then you really need a cow.

      Only babies absolutely need milk. Most human mothers can provide it. That's what those two bumps on the chest are for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        IT Angle

        Re: Unless you need milk. Then you really need a cow.

        "Unless you have an IQ higher than mine, I am not interested in what you think."

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Unless you need milk. Then you really need a cow.

          Fermented milk products are better for adults (Cheese, Yogurt etc) as the Lactose is converted. Outside of European background people, most people become Lactose intolerant as they grow up. However the cow dairy industry isn't very caring, especially to calves. Even worse for male calves.

    2. Henry Blackman

      Re: Google's online markets monopolies

      Or some nuts/coconut and have great, healthful milk that way :-)

  8. doublelayer Silver badge

    Google and android

    "Of Google's dozen, or more, monopolies in online markets and services, Android is one of the most significant."

    I'd argue that search and ads, and arguably gmail, is their major thing, and that google will live or die on it. Android's nice, but it's further down the list with maps, docs, and cloud. Stuff that's important, but not critical.

    "Over 80 per cent of the world's phones run Android, and it is estimated more than two billion Android devices are in active use every month globally."

    Can't we find a better system for cheap phones? Really. I've been trying to find a straightforward feature phone for my father that has good battery life and can make calls, and the ones I'm finding that aren't used or nailed into a contract cost more than $50. I can get a pretty crappy android phone for that that will do a lot more. Why can't we make cheaper phones?

    "And on Android, 19 of the top 25 apps downloaded more than one billion times are Google's own apps."

    Well then, stop putting them on my phone. Do you know how frequently I use street view? Zero times. That's how often. Why is there a street view icon in my apps list. That wasn't there when I bought this phone, and I certainly didn't ask for it.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Google and android

      I'd argue that search and ads, and arguably gmail, is their major thing, and that google will live or die on it.

      Android is the moat and castle wall around search and ads. Sharks in the moat and burning oil awaiting on the castle walls. Any challenger now has to figure out the way to cross the moat and bring down the wall to get to the search and ads customer base. And frankly, there is no way to do that.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Google and android

        That could be, but they have a lot of search and ads clients that don't have android, from their having chrome installed on everything, the default consideration of google over any other search engine, and google being default on firefox and safari (both IOS and OSX versions) and the google ad frames on many websites. I agree with you that it would be hard to undermine google's near complete victory in that realm, but if a business came up with a better ad system and people started installing that one on their sites, google could lose some without needing android to be weakened. Meanwhile, android, while it has large market share, has a distinct rival IOS and mini rivals in the mods for phones and the chance that eventually I will find the cheap feature phone I'm looking for. I think google could do a lot more to kill those than they have done, and the fact that they haven't suggests to me that they're pretty much fine with the smaller castle across the street because they know no cannons are going to take aim at their search and ads.

      2. Henry Blackman

        Re: Google and android

        Google has to go to Apple, cap in hand, and pay them billions for access to their valuable customers - default search in Safari!

  9. FuzzyWuzzys

    Did my own research....

    ...albeit very lazy and limited.

    I commute everyday into the wonderfull little hamlet of London-on-Sea and just watching the number of people struggling to get the phones to pay at the station barriers and shops around the stations shows the mobile pay market, in terms of physical presence, just isn't mature enough yet. The number of people using credit and debit cards on the same payment systems, it works better than phones but even that pales into insignificance compared to the number using Oyster and paper tickets that simply work 99% of the time.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Google used to offer Google checkout which was a good way for small businesses to accept card payments with fees lower than similar services offered by the likes of Paypal. I set up several small online stores with Google Checkout but they decided to close it down in 2013 and launched Google Wallet, then it became Google Pay and now it is Android pay. I suspect if Android Pay doesn't make some significant in roads into the payment market they will probably just close that down to.

  11. Warm Braw Silver badge

    As for mobile wallets...

    I don't know what percentage of Android phones have NFC at this point, but none has that I have owned to date. That does put Google on the back foot in its attempt to have a significant presence in mobile payments - Apple has the margin in its products to include the necessary hardware but that's not true for budget Android kit.

    I certainly wouldn't be looking to fork out for one of the SIM-less fragile glass touchscreen phones trending towards £1,000 simply in order to replace a piece of plastic. And with most online retailers trying desperately to get you to store your card details with them for "your convenience", I'm not sure what significant problem is solved by having a desktop intermediary (who will presumably want its cut).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As for mobile wallets...

      "I don't know what percentage of Android phones have NFC at this point, but none has that I have owned to date. "

      I don't buy expensive phones and I have never owned an Android phone that hasn't. The 4 we currently have all do and only one cost as much as £300. A number of Chinese phones don't.

      But to my mind the advantage of phone payments is this; you can turn NFC off. You can't turn a card off except via a tinfoil wallet.

      Also, the account used by the phone is a step removed from your actual credit or debit cards.

      Whether that's a big enough reason I can't say but it works for me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As for mobile wallets...

        It has been proven many times that NFC Cards are vunerable to 'contactless' slurping of their account details.

        Most banks will supply cards without NFC. All mine are NFC free apart from one so they are kept in an NRC blocking wallet.

        I do use Apple Pay at a few select stores (just one card) but mostly I use cash apart from when buying Petrol.

        It is up to us to keep our credit/debit card details secure.

        Giving them to Google is not keeping them secure IMHO. They clearly have form when it comes to selling our data to ad agencies and others. Why would they change now?

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: NFC Cards are vunerable to 'contactless' slurping of their account details.

          Possibly even in a bus or train using a POS terminal bought in Argos. Though I've not tried and you'd want a backend system more opaque than Sage.

          Note that most of the metal pouches sold to shield NFC / Contactless Debit & Credit cards don't make a proper Faraday cage as the join is an insulator.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They clearly have form when it comes to selling our data to ad agencies and others ...

          No, they don't.

          Their business relies on *them* having your data, not in selling it on.

          What they sell is not the data, it is *access* to you *based* on your data.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: They clearly have form when it comes to selling our data to ad agencies and others ...

            "What they sell is not the data, it is *access* to you *based* on your data."

            True, but I don't think that's a whole lot better.

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: As for mobile wallets...

        The first Android I bought had NFC. As did a Nexus tablet. The two subsequent ones didn't. No phone cost more than £120. I'm assuming it hasn't really caught on except in the 'do everything' phones in the upper part of the market. Which means it's far from essential and probably always will be.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: As for mobile wallets...

      My now-retired Galaxy Note 2 has NFC. I brought it out of retirement for a month when TfL had their travel free Friday promotion with Mastercard / Android Pay, and it worked, even without a SIM in it. No fingerprint reader, so I had to enter a PIN on the phone before using it. Not something I would do if I wasn't getting paid to do it.

  12. Ol'Peculier

    I must be in the minority. I find unlocking my phone through the fingerprint sensor and waving it in front of the POS terminal is a lot less faff than digging a card out of my wallet. Plus I have a record of the transaction on the the phone, so I don't need to ask for a receipt.

    1. Chloe Cresswell

      I don't have contactless cards, I do use it via my phone though.

      You have to unlock the phone to use the payment, where as just having a contactless card is enough to use it..

      1. Tessier-Ashpool

        "You have to unlock the phone to use the payment, where as just having a contactless card is enough to use it."

        Piece of piss with my iPhone. I take it out my shirt pocket, point it at the reader with my thumb at the bottom. It authenticates and pays in a couple of hundred milliseconds.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Similarly, I find getting a card to the reader is easier. Carrying a card is lighter and less prone to battery failure than a phone. A card is completely waterproof. I carry a phone in a trouser pocket or backpack, and being bigger than my wallet it takes longer to extract.

          I do find NFC payment very much faster than chip-and-pin, which can take up to a minute, I presume because it's using dialup in some form while NFC is perhaps always online. This may be more of the reason for your satisfaction with apple pay than the terminal-to-card comms : the backend is on a faster infrastructure.

          Not arguing that you're wrong : just that different habits and lifestyle can make one or the other better for someone. No person's opinion is everything.

          1. Mage Silver badge
            Facepalm

            it's using dialup in some form while NFC is perhaps always online

            That's nonsense. If the NFC is faster, then it's being cached. A less than €20 Contactless payment isn't verified in many countries, which is REALLY STUPID and allows the slurping of funds in crowded places using a cordless terminal.

            You can tell shops using different kinds of connection from the speed. Most of the places I use with chip & pin are now almost instant.

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: it's using dialup in some form while NFC is perhaps always online

              I find an Amex contactless transaction usually takes less than a second, and I get the notification on my phone within 2 seconds of doing the transaction, so definitely online; except for TfL where the notification comes through at about 3:30 the following morning.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "A card is completely waterproof."

            Once I run over one of my cards with my car while paying for fuel. It does work still. Try it with a phone...

            My wallet is used just to keep cards and some cash only, I don't keep photos, business cards, paper lists, condoms, chihuahuas, etc. inside too. So getting the card is much faster than reaching for the phone and unlocking it.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          I've got a separate card holder with a single card in it, that sits in my pocket next to my phone.

          While using the phone requires minimal effort, using the card requires zero effort, so the card wins.

          Also, I find that Amex Apple Pay works almost nowhere, the only places I've found it works are TfL and Waitrose. Amex gives me 1% cashback, so I prefer to use it wherever possible.

          1. Henry Blackman

            Amex

            I use an Amex Gold Charge - for the points mainly, and to ensure I don't spend too much - but I have yet, outside of the odd independent retailer and B&Q, found somewhere that doesn't accept it. All hotels, petrol stations, chain restaurants, supermarkets, major retailers (Apple, Starbucks, Costa, Currys/PC World, Boots, John Lewis, etc) all take it fine. Occasionally contactless Amex doesn't work (with Apple Pay or card) with some old machines, but otherwise perfect. You can usually use Paypal (I know) for online retailers that don't take it directly to accept it, and even with companies that don't take cards with Billhop (although they charge 2.5%).

          2. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Card Holders

            "I've got a separate card holder with a single card in it, that sits in my pocket next to my phone"

            I wear a Gibson suit. The jacket has 2 card pockets, one for my credit card, one for my Opal card (bus/train/ferry fare card).

            I won't say I've NEVER tried to pay for a sandwich using my Opal card....

  13. TheGreatCabbage

    Google Pay is one of my favourite phone features in years. In the UK you can use it in basically every shop, and it's so much easier than pulling out your wallet.

    I'll be quite pleased to have the convenience of Google Pay in the browser too.

    1. TheGreatCabbage

      Did people downvote simply because they disagree with me? I only downvote if someone is factually wrong or obviously offensive, and usually I would make a comment explaining why my view differs or why they merited a downvote.

      I'm genuinely interested about what other people consider the downvote to mean.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        I think downvotes are mostly like/unlike substitutes. They're used when someone objects to your whole stance, as against racists. Or because you got upvotes, and they didn't.

        You're more likely to get a comment when the response is thoughtful (and perhaps corrective) rather than just argumentative.

        Personally, I think downvotes should be allowed only with a comment to justify them. Upvotes are ok, because they're just 'me, too's.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge
        Pint

        @ TheGreatCabbage

        "Did people downvote simply because they disagree with me? "

        Probably just fanbois offended by your use of the G world.

        Welcome to the brave new world of fanatical brand loyalty!

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      it's so much easier than pulling out your wallet

      It may well be easier for you than pulling out your wallet. For me, it wouldn't be; for one thing, my wallet doesn't require unlocking.

      Not everyone is you.

      (For the record, I didn't downvote your post. I'm just pointing out that it's suspect to claim something is better for other people.)

      1. TheGreatCabbage

        "For me, it wouldn't be; for one thing, my wallet doesn't require unlocking."

        Sorry, my phone has a fingerprint scanner and I've pretty much taken it for granted at this point, so I forgot that it might take longer for plenty of people. (In my case, unlocking my phone via the pin code would probably be marginally faster than the wallet though.)

        Thanks for pointing that out :-)

  14. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

    In case you're wondering about the headline and it's cheeky byline:

    Google Pay heads for the desktop... and, we fear, an inevitable flop

    "Life in plastic, it's fantastic"

    The second "Life in plastic, it's fantastic" line is from the 1990's era Aqua Song "Barbie Girl" which if you watch their silly but catchy video, boldly foretells a geeky future of unimaginative human-drones busily frittering their mutated lives away in an orgy of interacting with utterly plastic people having only polyethylene-like brains, paying with plastic money and caressing a mountain of plastic products and services VERY MUCH LIKE what our young generation does today!!! This is NOT THEIR FAULT but can instead be placed almost entirely upon the underhanded machinations of those peskily smart Baby Boomers AND Gen-X'ers!

    As the more enlightened of us TRY to avoid this hedonistic plastic society, the powers that be keep pulling us back into an almost demonic suite of online credit and payment services that are just too easy for the plebes to even CONTEMPLATE DOING ANYTHING ELSE BUT JOIN the party of pretty but facetious Betties and Bobs blowing their bundles of quid on useless trinkets, uncouth and ignomious activities and vapid if not vaporious people!

    AAaaaaaahhhhhhhhh GAG ME WITH A SPOOON !!!!!!

    May I suggest WE DO AWAY with online shopping and go back to the dark ages BEFORE mere bits and bytes were used for credit and payments, where some modicum of THOUGHT went into purchases both large and small MAYBE bringing a TINY PANG OF GUILTY RESTRAINT upon the personal or family budget!

    But Nooooooooo --- an unrestrained hedonistic ORGY of plastic finances is soon to be bring a melted, goopy dripping mess of fiscal fire to our dull if overly comfortable lives in Europe, North America and soon enough Asia!

    Hopefully, I will be FULLY OFF-GRID soon enough TO NOT HAVE TO deal with the sudden cardiac arrest (if not Death!) that our financial system is going to eventually suffer if this movement to a completely ONLINE financial system ever becomes FULLY realized!

    I'm bunkered down to being almost ready and nearly self-sufficient! ARE YOU?

    1. onefang Silver badge

      "paying with plastic money"

      Here in Australia, and no doubt other countries, all the non coin money is made of plastic. Has been for a very long time.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      "I WOULD CAPS LOCK THIS, BUT I AM ALREADY AT MAXIMUM CAPS LOCK."

      (Alas, a bit of searching failed to find the original, so that's from memory. Apologies for any errors in the quotation.)

      1. onefang Silver badge
        Coat

        Your caps lock is capped? You need to pay for an uncapped caps lock. Sure, it's more expensive, but you don't suffer from the capped caps lock problem.

        I'll get my coat, it's the one with the matching cap locked to it.

  15. Franco Silver badge

    I pretty much only use my phone to pay for things when it's a reward program (E.g. Greggs) and even then I use the QR code rather than tap-to-pay as you can call me paranoid if you like but I simply don't trust NFC. When my bank insisted that I had to have a card that supported contactless pay I immediately bought an RFID blocking wallet.

    I only just switched to Android and when my phone got Google Pay installed as part of an OS upgrade it demanded some quite outrageous permissions just to run. So I uninstalled it.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      You're cautious enough to use a Faraday cage wallet, but not so cautious as to avoid using loyalty programs?

  16. ashton

    Google used to have wallet service, i used it for a while, while i still dumbly trusted google.

    Fortunately they went and killed it for whatever reason. Switched to paypal, no intention to get back, especially after yt drama and damore drama.

    Giving your information to google was a price i could accept while i trusted them. After they started participating in ideological conflicts and began oppressing of wrongthink they've lost all my trust.

  17. 89724905708769238590784I9405670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921 Bronze badge

    Google buys data from various sources and know all about your spending habits anyway.

    Shaking up Paypal and forcing them to lower their stupid high transaction fees would be a good thing.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Google buys data from various sources and know all about your spending habits anyway.

      "Resistance is futile" arguments are counterproductive.

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