Google Pay card payments are failing on the Pixel 7 because of face unlock

Fingerprints or password/PIN only for Google Pay

The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are among the best Android phones you can buy right now. Google has addressed many issues that plagued the previous-gen Pixels with the Pixel 7 series, but the phones are not perfect. Tests indicate the display drains an obscene amount of power at high brightness levels, with some users reporting scrolling issues. Pixel 7 users are also having to deal with Google Wallet Pay transactions failing without any explicit error message. Turns out, this has to do with how face unlock works on the new Pixels.


When the big G unveiled the Pixel 7 series in early October, it made it clear that face unlock is only for the lock screen. The feature does not pass the required biometric threshold to unlock apps like password managers or authenticate mobile payments. So what does this have to do with failing Google Pay transactions on the Pixel 7? Your new Pixel will automatically decline any contactless transaction if you use face unlock for biometric authentication. After the card is declined, Google Pay will prompt you to use the fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone and try again.

If the phone is unlocked using the fingerprint sensor, you can tap it against an NFC payment terminal, and the transaction will go through via Google Pay without any issues.

Our Google editor, Manuel Vonau, tested contactless payment on his Pixel 7 in Germany, and the transaction went through without a hitch. This was because the payment amount was below the contactless threshold. In the United States, though, Google Pay requires your phone to be unlocked for all transactions except for transit.

The problem here is that Google is straight up declining Pay transactions when the Pixel 7 is unlocked using face unlock without showing an appropriate error message or prompting users to enter the PIN. Most users will be cluelesaboutto why contactless Google Pay transactions are failing on their phonon. We noticed a similar behavior whenever Smart Lock automatically unlocked our Pixel 7 and we tried making a payment.

At the moment, there’s not much you can do here except unlock your Pixel 7 using the fingerprint scanner before making an NFC-based payment. With the issue coming into the media spotlight, Google should address it sooner rather than later.

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