Paying via NFC with Google Pay is more convenient, safe, and hygienic than swiping a payment card through a seldomly cleaned payment terminal. These days, almost every flagship phone includes the NFC interface required for Google Pay to function. But that doesn't guarantee that tap-to-pay will actually work. Recently, issues have popped up on the Galaxy Note20 Ultra and the Pixel 5 — but it looks like this problem might be much more far reaching.
While owners of newer phones like the Pixel 5 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra have complained about NFC issues affecting the use of Google Pay in stores, they aren't the only devices experiencing this problem. Some users of the OnePlus 8 from earlier this year seem to be running into the same error. Google Pay allows them to sign in and register cards just fine, but trying to use tap-to-pay just brings up the red exclamation mark and a very helpful message stating "That didn't work."
Since writing about the Galaxy Note20 Ultra's issues last week, we've learned that this issue seems to affect multiple generations of Pixel devices as well, including last year's Pixel 4 series. While it's possible that all of these NFC issues are unrelated, it does seem like these problems with Google Pay could run deeper than mere device-specific issues.
There doesn't seem to be a surefire way to resolve the problem currently. The usual cure-alls like resetting the device or re-installing the Google Pay app don't seem to make any difference for most people affected. Since the app relies on Google, OEMs, and banking institutions, there are a lot of possible culprits to blame for this bug.
Hopefully it's something that can be resolved with a future update to the Google Pay app, which you can find on APK Mirror and the Play Store.
- Tom and Nick