The Pixel 5 is a solid if slightly overpriced and unspectacular device, but early issues are already manifesting. The latest shows that some Pixel 5 owners are unable to make payments using NFC and, therefore, Google Pay.

As Google Pay is effectively baked in to Android 11 thanks to the Cards & Passes feature, this issue is quite pronounced if you do choose to leave your wallet at home – and rely on the NFC payment system.

Reports have already surfaced on the Google Support Forums, but we have since been able to confirm that this issue is affecting our own Pixel 5 units. The problem is limited to Pixel 5 devices, as the same payment card will work as expected on Pixel 4 and Pixel 4a series handsets — provided the payment system is registered.

Normal troubleshooting processes also seem to be ineffective at curing Google Pay issues on the Pixel 5 – unless you factory reset your device. Multiple device resets, re-installation, cache, and storage clearing are unable to get NFC payments working on handsets:

Also please note the following troubleshooting steps have already been tried. 
  • Multiple read attempts with phone in different position and orientation (approx 20 attempts so far)
  • 3 different cards from 2 x Banks (1 Credit card, 2 x Debit, Mixture of both VISA and Mastercard) 
  • 5+ different merchants each with a different brand of reader and payment service provider
  • Deleted and readded cards
  • Uninstalled and reinstalled Google Pay app
  • Called both banks to check their logs – no payments have been declined on any of my cards and I can pay fine with the physical cards. The logs don’t show the payment attempts at all from the virtual cards. 

Now the problem may stem from restoring old backups on a new device, but it’s not entirely clear if this is the case for all those encountering the inability to make wireless payments. Performing a factory reset is not always an ideal solution for most people in many scenarios either — plus is a time-consuming process.

One would expect that this is simply an issue with the device, as it still passes CTS checks, so should have no issues with Google Pay. However, an app update will likely resolve any lingering problems over the coming weeks. This is providing Google is aware of the issue internally.

We have reached out to Google for a comment on the issues that some are facing, and will update should we receive an official response. If you are experiencing similar issues, be sure to let us know down in the comments section below!

Thanks Brooke!

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