Learn how Google Pay helps keep your payment info safe, tips to avoid suspicious requests, and what to do if your phone is lost or stolen.
Info about your privacy
Google Pay & merchants
Participating merchants accept Google Pay for purchases of goods and services on websites and in apps. Google discloses to participating sites and apps whether or not you have Google Pay set up on your device. This is so merchants can know whether to offer you Google Pay as a payment option. You can opt out of Google making this disclosure in Google Pay privacy settings. Opting out can affect your ability to use Google Pay to transact with certain merchants.
Google Pay & your transaction data
Google may use data from Google Pay transactions that you make in stores or on third-party apps and websites to:
- Facilitate your Google Pay transactions.
- Show you your transaction details and transaction history.
- Resolve a problem that you're having with Google Pay.
- Provide you with other Google Pay features.
Help protect your payment info
Here are 4 ways that you can keep your payment info safer.
Encryption stores your data in a form that can be read only when your phone or tablet is unlocked. When you unlock your device, you decrypt your data. Encryption benefits include:
- If your device is stolen, encryption can add protection.
- On an encrypted device, most personal data is encrypted.
Many devices are encrypted by default. However, some devices may require you to turn on encryption in your device's settings.
To get the most protection for your data on an encrypted device, always require your PIN, pattern, or password to unlock your device when it starts.
Only send money to people that you know
Important: After you successfully approve a payment to someone, Google isn’t responsible for disputes between you and the person you sent money to.
You can send or request money from your friends and family on Google Pay.
To help you avoid fraud and scams:
- Always confirm that the person who requests money from you is someone you know. Scammers can create fake accounts that appear like your friends or family.
- Do not send money to people that you don’t know.
- Do not accept money requests from people that you don’t know.
- Do not buy goods or services using money transfers with strangers.
- Do not try to sell goods or services with money transfers.
Learn how to avoid payment transfer scams.
Report unauthorized charges immediately
If you think there’s been fraud or unauthorized activity on your payments profile, report it within 120 days of the transaction date.
Tip: An unauthorized charge is a transaction that you believe was made fraudulently. If you’d like to dispute a payment made with your Google Pay balance or money sent to a friend, learn how to dispute a payment.
Identify & report fraudulent Google Pay messages
"Phishing" and "spoofing" are fraudulent attempts to access your personal info.
- Phishing is when someone pretends to be someone else and asks you for personal info.
- Spoofing is when someone fakes the identity of the email sender so it seems more trustworthy.
If you get a suspicious email, don’t respond with the info it asks for.
- If the message claims to be from Google, report the email.
- If you think you've been scammed, learn what to do next.
How to tell if an email is suspicious
Important: Google never asks you to send personal info like passwords, credit card numbers, or tax info through an email, text message, or phone call. If you get a message that says Google must verify your info, go directly to pay.google.com. If Google needs to verify your info, in the top right, there’s an alert that you can select with instructions.
Step 1. Check what info it asks for
If someone requests personal financial details or other sensitive info on Google Pay, it’s a scam. Never share sensitive info via email or over the phone. Examples of sensitive info include:
- Your passwords, passcodes, or password reset link
- PINs (personal identification numbers)
- Debit or credit card info
- Bank info, like account numbers
- Personal info, like address or Social Security Number
Google won't ask you to download an app to receive support or solve a problem.
If you're still not sure whether an email or message is suspicious, be careful and do not send money or personal info.
Step 2. Find the real sender of an email
- In Gmail, next to "Reply,” click More Show original.
- Make sure the "From" address and the "Reply-to" address match.
- Check that the address on the "Message-id" also matches the "From" address domain.
- If you don't use Gmail, ask your email host for details on how to verify a sender.
Automatic security features
Here are a few ways Google Pay works to keep your info safer.
To help protect you from scams and fraud, Google Pay uses advanced, built-in security to better identify suspicious payments, including when you send or receive money.
Suspicious payment notification
If you try to pay someone outside your contact list, or receive a request for money from outside your contacts, Google Pay notifies you. That way, you can avoid the transaction if it’s suspicious.
Your payment info and activity are stored securely with industry-leading encryption. To help protect you during transactions, Google Pay encrypts all of your payments.
Virtual account numbers
A virtual account number is a type of temporary alias for your actual account number. A virtual account number is created when you add a card using the Google Pay app, Google Wallet app, or your banking app. For example, when you pay in stores:
- Your virtual account number is shared with the merchant.
- Your actual account number isn't shared. This helps to keep your account info safe.
To locate the virtual account number:
- Open the Google Wallet app .
- At the top, tap the payment card you used for the purchase.
- You may have to swipe from right to left to find it, then tap the card.
- At the bottom, tap Details Virtual account number.
Tip: If you don't find "Virtual account number," you must set up the payment card for in-store payments.
Before you add cards to the Google Pay app or for in-store payments, you must set up a screen lock on your device. If you turn off the screen lock, Google Pay removes your virtual account number from your device for your protection.
To make most purchases, you must unlock your phone. You won't have to unlock your phone for certain small payments.
Find & secure a lost phone
Important: This info isn't relevant for customers in Japan. Learn more about protecting a lost device in Japan.
When your phone is unlocked, it can be used to make purchases in stores. If your phone is lost or stolen, you can find, lock, or erase it with Find My Device.
If you lock your device, the Google Pay and Google Wallet apps can't be used. If your device can't be contacted, your payment info might be removed so no one can access it. If you find your device, unlock it and add your payment info again to use Google Pay.
Since Google Pay doesn't store your card details on your phone, anyone who finds or steals your phone can’t access that info, even if it's unlocked.