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I’d like to think I’m fairly savvy with credit card technology, kinda like my points, but I had my mind blown this week by Google Pay and Chase, while traveling. Maybe I’m the last to know about this, but I think it’s really cool and makes me feel far less anxious about losing my wallet abroad, or anywhere.

Like the idiot I am, I lost my wallet while in the UK, which happened to have my Chase credit cards in there. Ironically, I did it while picking up a new ID! And sadly, it had my wife’s cards too. She’s overjoyed, trust me!

When I called to get the cards replaced (thankfully no fraud), the person was kind enough to expedite the cards and said they should be with us in around 48 hours or so, which felt manageable – and pretty impressive for a transatlantic journey. But what subsequently occurred, when I went into my Google Pay, blew my mind.

My “new” replacement cards were already there, and already ready to use, instantly! There was literally no downtime from cancelling our cards and ordering new ones, to being able to pay for virtually anything we might need while in London – meals, drinks, even hotels!

Chase x Google Pay “New Card”

Minutes after getting off the phone with Chase, I went into Google Pay to start deleting my old cards, so they wouldn’t clutter my neat and organized dashboard, when I go to add the new cards.

I’m really glad I looked at the screen quizzically for a moment before hitting the button, because I would’ve been making a really dumb mistake. The new Chase Sapphire cards were already there.

My Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which used to end in… we’ll call it ABCD, was now showing up as something new. The Sapphire Reserve, which once ended in QRST, was ending in a new four numbers as well. I logged into my Chase online card account and noted that the card numbers displaying in Google Pay were the very same as my new card numbers for each account.

Google Pay had already received a token from Chase for my new card, which means I can use it to make purchases immediately, as part of my “new” card account number. Literally, zero minutes or hours, even while abroad and waiting for my physical cards. I understand Apple Pay offers the same capability, which is very cool.

I almost couldn’t believe it, so I went to the Chase FAQ resource for Google Pay, and in “Lost Cards” I found this, in plain sight…

What happens when my card is replaced?

Whether your card is replaced because it is lost or stolen, or if the card has expired, in most cases your new card will be automatically associated to the existing Digital Account Number (Token) in your device, and continue to be used for payments in Google Pay.

Chase

Yep, not a fluke, it’s just how it works. It makes total sense, since losing a secure device such as your personal phone is entirely separate from losing a physical wallet. I’d taken trips without bringing my physical wallet before, but never pondered what a lost wallet would do to my trusty phone tap payments. It turns out, not much.

This may not be the end all, be all for some – but for me it’s exactly what I need. Every shop I’ve been in on this trip takes Google Pay, from coffee in the morning to dinner in the evening. Even retail seems to always take it.

I’d love “not” to need it, but I actually feel a weird peace of mind now, knowing that if I do lose something abroad (again), I can still pay for things.

What’s staggeringly cool, at least to me, is that no matter where I am vacationing, I can instantly be connected to my “new” replacement credit card, thanks to Google Pay. The decades of nightmare travel stories involving lost cards and wallets abroad may finally be coming to a close, at least if you use a digital wallet.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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17 Comments

  1. Gilbert, it is amazing isn’t it! I recently left Google after working on GPay for the last 9 years. This was made possible by a lot of hard work and behind the scenes collaboration between Visa, Chase and Google.

    1. I just noticed that this happened. I have fraud on my Chase card, I called and they took care of it immediately. I am awaiting my new cards when I saw this article. I opened my GPay and was like what is this guy talking about? And there it was my new card that I had been waiting on was sitting in GPay. Wish Chase would have informed me of this, I would have used that card this past weekend instead of a different one.

  2. There are other big benefits of Google Pay, the biggest is that your card number isn’t used when you tap and pay. Your phone keeps a cache of 10 one time use numbers that are linked to your real card back at the bank.

    Each time you tap and pay, you use one the cache of one time use numbers, and it’s destroyed, and the cache is refilled. It means it’s much more secure than plastic cards, and it also works without a network connection (for 10 purchases). You phone is also pin, password, fingerprint or face protected, your plastic card has none of these.

    I never use my debit card, and prefer to use my phone for these reasons. However I know so many people that think phone payments are less secure, because they don’t understand these key points.

  3. My bank Revolut also does digital only card.
    I made three of those:
    – one for e-commerce site that I trust, to limit any risk of perturbation on those subscription due to a security breach
    – one for ok site and used in Google pay (no big deal if it very unfortunately get hacked, I should not have to rest a lot of things)
    – and one time cards for sites I do not know it trust
    Independently, I also a plastic card that I use in dogs and for which e-commerce usage is blocked (can be unlocked through the app though)

  4. This is a fantastic feature, but certainly not unique to Google Pay.

    Samsung pay does precisely the same thing with Chase, Amex, etc. We don’t use Apple products in our business, but perhaps other readers can share their inputs with similar stories.

  5. How did you get Chase to send your card to the UK?
    I’ve tried and they will only send my debit card to the US which is not any help as I’m in the UK and can’t get back to the US anytime soon.

  6. Gilbert, clarification, please. Have patience if it’s a dumb question. These are US Visa card(s) loaded onto a smartphone that you are using to pay for things in England? And the merchants accept this without a problem? Whenever I use my US cards, actual plastic, in England, they always want me to sign the machine paper strip.

  7. Clarification for Airfarer – Although it appears that your cards are loaded onto your phone they’re actually not. Both Google Pay and Apple Pay and a few other things use a different system (as mentioned above using one time codes) the fact that you can see your card on your phone is just there to make it more intuitive for the user. So actually it’s not “loading a new card” onto your phone it’s just not stopping your phone and changing the “window dressing”. (I found this out when I lost my card, stopped it and then used my phone – it worked and on my phone the bank hadn’t gotten round the changing the image of the card. I phoned them up to ask if the card was actually stopped and they explained it to me – a day or so later the picture of the old card changed to the new one put the phone worked all the way through.

  8. Can confirm Apple Pay works the same. My UK Visa Debit card got eaten by an ATM and gone forever. The bank were less than helpful by sending my new card to my home, however I got a new one in Apple Pay almost instantly. It’s impressive stuff!

  9. On the other hand, Chase blocked my card when I was in Europe – and left me a message with the number of the fraud department. When I called – I either got a message telling me there was more than a fifty minute wait – or a message that the department was closed (but the message didn’t day when they would open)

  10. Well written post, and good information that many readers may not be aware of.

    I was a dumb dummy and once deleted all my cards from Google Pay for much the same reason.

    My partner actually scolded me for doing it, she somehow already knew about this at the time. And here I always thought I was the savvy, tech forward one of the bunch.

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