Google Pay adds support for ten more countries in mainland Europe
Google Pay is finally rolling out across much of mainland Europe not previously covered by the service. From today, customers in Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, and Romania will be able to sign up and add their cards, if their payment issuer supports it.
According to a statement from Mastercard Europe, the new countries will join the existing European states which have been gradually rolling out to support the contactless payment service, This is the first significant expansion in coverage since April 2019, when Switzerland came on stream. Before that, France was added at the end of 2018 with the Scandinavian countries added the previous October. It also represents the biggest rollout to new countries in a single day since the service launched. It’s about time, too, with an estimated 80% rise in contactless payments since the start of the pandemic.
If you live in one of these countries and have an NFC-enabled phone, you can download the app and start adding cards, either directly in the Google Pay app, or through a link in your bank’s app – though that will depend on if your bank is participating yet. Equally, it may take time for participating merchants to come on stream because although Google Pay is accepted wherever contact payments are, some businesses are a bit slow to adopt it, so it’s best to carry a back-up card, at least for now. Also worth noting is that, at the time of writing, only Mastercard has announced the rollout, though it would be highly unusual for one to be supported and not the other.
Additionally, certain types of cards don’t behave as intended, particularly prepaid cards, multi-currency cards (eg Revolut), and multi-bank cards (eg Curve). It’s recommended in these cases that you check with your issuer first. Once that’s all sorted though, you can load your cards into Google Pay with confidence. All data uploaded is cryptographically protected and the retailer will be shown a dummy card number when you pay (a process called ‘tokenisation’), making it impossible to skim your credentials.
In the past 24 hours, Google has posted that a redesign of the Google Pay app is in the pipeline too, which we’ll report on when we know more, but it’s thought that it will bring bank accounts offering more of the digital-first features used by challenger banks.