Some Google Pay Users Offered Tiny Bribes to Check Transaction Data

Google takes an old-fashioned approach to fixing possible accuracy issues with Google Pay: it throws money at the problem. But not much: 25 cents each.

The problem here seems to be that Google’s NFC payment app sometimes works ignores the data coming in from the tap-to-pay transaction and instead marks the purchase with the name of a nearby merchant. I saw that myself; in March, it identified an NFC transaction with a vendor at a farmer’s market in Arlington, Virginia, as a purchase from a Cinema maybe 100 feet away.

Sometime this summer, Google Pay began offering some users, including me, a 25-cent reward for randomly checking its records.

“Confirm the correct company name and address for the transaction below,” read the invitation when it popped up on my phone last week. “You will deserve a reward.”

At the bottom, it showed the merchant’s name recorded by Google Pay, a map of their location, and the purchase amount, followed by “Yes, the information is correct” and “No, the information is incorrect” dialogs.

In this case – buying a ticket at the train station in Copenhagen, where I spoke a conference last week–Google Pay was right. I claimed the 25 cents which got me up to 75 cents in fact check earnings on top of the two previous rewards I had claimed (Google Pay was correct both times).


I seem to have almost no company in this effort. No one has mentioned it yet on Reddit’s r/googlepay subreddit of 4,800 members to judge the results of a query for “reward”.

In an email, Google spokeswoman Chaiti Sen described this as “a very limited test that we are conducting to verify merchants and ensure they are being tagged correctly.” She didn’t elaborate on how Google selected users or what triggers this fact-checking query.

This isn’t the only time Google has paid people to dig into the latest version of its app, which has been rebranded multiple times over the past decade and then seen Google link a version of the app to a user’s , tore up and replaced Google account with another one that relied on user’s mobile number for authentication. Since that reboot of this ailing franchise, Google has offered a variety of cash back offers for tasks like referring friends to the app and paying new merchants.

But Samsung, by far the most popular Android smartphone maker, already offers its own Tap-to-Pay app and recently added new features like digital key support for its SmartThings home locks and even some BMW, Hyundai and Genesis ones -Cars added.

Meanwhile, there’s no such confusion on iPhones, where Apple Pay has remained since its inception in 2014, long ago becoming a faster synonym for “mobile NFC payments.”

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