Google Pay Expands BNPL and Says Goodbye to the CVV With Biometrics 

A week after Visa threw down the payments gauntlet with a series of announcements that merged the physical and digital worlds, Google took its turn at bat today (May 22), adding three new features to Google Pay

According to Google Pay Vice President and General Manager Ben Volk, the new features are designed to address the three factors its users told the company are most important when checking out online: security, convenience and access to smart spending tools. 


“It starts with the end user and understanding their needs, which, are unmet and will find valuable,” Volk told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster. “It’s the approach we take with everything. We spend a lot of time talking to our users, understanding them, watching the trends, in the market as well.” 

Volk also said that the new features value creating smart credentials over digital wallet adoption that can be used anywhere a consumer wants to make a purchase. He expects them to provide flexibility and ease of use for consumers who wish to visit a merchant, get in and out quickly, and make a purchase.

The new features streamline the checkout process and add biometric options for users, leading off with card benefits at checkout. Google Pay now displays select benefits for American Express and Capital One cardholders during the checkout process on Chrome desktop. Volk said more partners are currently in negotiation. He said the feature helps users choose the card with the best rewards for their purchase, simplifying decisions about which card to use for maximum value. “It does help consumers make the best decision based on what it is they’re buying,” Volk said, again emphasizing the importance of consumers and merchants, providing users with rewards information at the point of purchase.

Google Pay has also broadened its “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) options to include more merchant sites and Android apps across the U.S. Shoppers can link their existing BNPL accounts (currently limited to Affirm and Zip) or sign up for new ones directly through Google Pay, increasing flexibility in payment options. “It’s an easy way to have this as a part of the offering, providing users with more optionality,” said Volk, who came to Google last fall after a 15-year stint running payments at Amazon. He highlighted the growing popularity of BNPL, especially among younger consumers seeking flexible payment options for budgeting.

Security through biometric authentication filled out the announcement. Google Pay now allows users to fill in their card details using a fingerprint, face scan or PIN. This feature leverages the device’s unlock method to automatically fill in full card details, reducing the need to enter security codes and enhancing overall security manually. “By leveraging biometrics, we greatly increase security while removing friction for a more convenient experience,” Volk said,  underlining the dual benefits of convenience and security provided by the new autofill feature.

According to Volk, merchants need to do “virtually nothing” to activate these features. The system automatically works for consumers using Chrome, requiring no additional effort from merchants during the checkout experience. He said this design aims to minimize integration challenges and reduce friction for merchants. Volk says his past experience helped in his current role.

“Having been a merchant in a past life gave me a deep appreciation for the amount of effort that can take to try to integrate new payment options and new payment methods,” he told Webster. “Our goal is to remove as much of that friction as much as possible.”

The AI in GPay

Volk acknowledged that while artificial intelligence (AI) doesn’t directly influence Google Pay, it has been a significant part of Google’s broader strategy for a long time. He said that AI and machine learning have been utilized in various aspects of Google Pay, such as enhancing security, reducing fraud, and improving transaction approval rates by implementing intelligent backend solutions.

Volk emphasized that the primary focus of leveraging AI within Google Pay is to simplify everyday purchases for consumers while making them safer and more accessible. He also mentioned that the company is continuously exploring potential future applications of AI, such as customizing user experiences. 

“One of the big changes and one of the big things that frankly was one of the reasons I came over was Google’s focus on being an ecosystem enabler,” he said. “We try to be that connective tissue between, the end consumer, merchants, PSPs, financial institutions and networks. So our focus is to deliver better experiences across all those aspects of the payments ecosystem. It opens the door to do a lot of unique things, build unique products and help others enable their products as well.”