Zit Seng's Blog

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Shopping At US Google Store, From SG

Shopping at Google Store

Google latest Nexus smartphone devices, the Nexus 5X and 6P, has generated quite a bit of buzz. Unlike the Nexus 6 of 2015, the new devices are priced much more affordably, and should prove to be more popular. I can just imagine many people in Singapore wanting to buy one (or both) of these smartphones, but can’t, because they are in Singapore.

It’s annoying that in this era of globalisation and globalised economy, there should be all these country and territorial boundaries. So what can you do? You could, of course, get someone in the correct country to buy the devices for you, then ship them to you. Alternatively, with some extra online work, you can get the shopping done yourself. It’s easy, just a bit of clicking and waiting.

Before I go on, I wrote this post in the context of getting the Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P from the Google Store in the U.S. You can do the same with the U.K. store, and possibly other countries too. Which store you should use is beyond the scope of this article. There are pricing and cellular frequency bands to consider, and I’ll leave you to do your own research.

To be clear, I am just sharing some advise about how to buy from the U.S. Google Store. I am not recommending that you should get your devices from there, nor am I suggesting that it’s the best course of action.

There are basically two parts to this matter. First, it is about the actual purchase from the U.S. Google Store. They can only ship items within the U.S., so that brings us to the next part, the onward shipping of the item from the U.S. to Singapore.

We start by getting yourself into the U.S. Google Store. If you’ve been visiting Google’s Play Store, it’s probably the Singapore one, either because you’re browsing from Singapore or you’re logged in with an account associated with Singapore.

Google associates you with a specific country’s store by your account, if you’re logged in, or by your network location if you’re not. If you use a VPN service to the U.S., then when you’re not logged in, you’ll get to the U.S. store. However, once you log in to your Google account, you’ll be redirected to the Singapore store if your account is associated with Singapore.

Here’s how you can get your account associated with the U.S. store.

  1. Login to Google Wallet.
  2. Delete all your payment methods and addresses.
  3. Add a new payment method. It’s okay to use your Singapore credit card. However, be sure to use a U.S. billing address. More about this address later.
  4. Wait for Google to verify your payment method, i.e. your credit card, by charging a token sum. Don’t worry, the charge will be reversed. This step could be quick, or it could take a few hours. I’m told that you could also actually buy something (e.g. an app) so that the credit card can be verified right away.
  5. Once the payment method is verified, your account will be associated with the new country.

You don’t have to change the country of your existing Google account. You can, instead, create a new Google account for U.S. shopping. This way, you can still keep your existing Google account associated with Singapore. There are some practical reasons for this. For example, certain localised apps are only available in the Singapore Google Play Store.

Don’t have a U.S. billing address? Well, that comes from the next part, when you pick a freight-forwarder. You can use the address of your freight-forwarder. In fact, Google doesn’t actually send anything to your billing address, so it’s not like it really matters that much, apart from that it has to be in the U.S.

There are a couple of freight-forwarding services you can use. These are services that receive parcels on your behalf at a U.S. address, then re-ship them to you to Singapore. You may have heard of some names, such as BorderlinxComgateway or VPost. I don’t want to recommend, but for practical purposes, Borderlinx being located in the state of Ohio will attract sales tax when you buy from the U.S. Google Store. Comgateway and VPost are both located in the state of Oregon, which has no sales tax. Hence, for the purpose of avoiding U.S. sales tax, it is better to choose one of these two.

You need to sign up for an account at these freight-forwarding services. Sign up is free. You get a U.S. shipping address. The address  is free too. You give this address to Google for billing and for shipping your device. Google then ships your shopping to your address. When your freight-forwarder receives your parcel, they’ll notify you. Then, you login and give them instructions about onward shipping to Singapore. You pay for the shipping.

Comgateway ships via DHL, and DHL gives you very detailed tracking on the delivery. VPost, on the other hand, gives you very vague, and perhaps up to one day late, status on your parcel location.

Do note that your shipping may attract GST in Singapore. Your freight-forwarder may collect that you from if the declared “CIF value” is above S$400. Usually, this is paid up-front when you give the instruction to ship and settle the shipping charges.

Once you’ve picked your favourite freight-forwarder and have your Google account setup, go ahead and shop. Some people have reported that the Google Store may decline their payments during checkout, giving the following error:

Your order was declined because it was considered high-risk. Please try again in 30 minutes.

Don’t panic. Just try again. You probably do need to wait longer than 30 minutes though, more like 4 to 5 hours.

Once payment is done, you can check on the progress of your order. Orders are typically marked Pending initially (or Preordered if the item is on pre-order). When Google is ready to ship, your order will change to Processing, and you will find your credit card charged. Finally, the order status is updated to Shipped when your item ships. You’ll have a tracking number to follow the U.S. domestic delivery of your order.

Once your order arrives at your preferred freight-forwarder, login to their website and initiate the delivery to Singapore.

Finally, your shopping arrives and is in your hands. You’re happy.

This is how you can buy stuff from the U.S. Google Store. You can similarly set yourself up to use the Google Stores in U.K., or Japan, if there are region-specific device variants that you need.

Note that the Nexus 6P, which is made by Huawei, will be brought in to Singapore next month. If you’re after the Nexus 6P, there’s no need to buy from overseas Google Stores, unless you desperately want the device right away.

There’s no news about the Nexus 5X coming to Singapore. Note that the U.S. variant of the Nexus 5X has no support for LTE band 8, a new band that SingTel has started to use and other telcos will follow suit. The U.S. version of the Nexus 5X does support LTE bands 3 and 7, the main bands used in Singapore. If you really do want LTE band 8, you’d have to buy the U.K. or Japan variants of the Nexus 5X.

11 thoughts on “Shopping At US Google Store, From SG

  1. follow your recommendation but when i shop @ google store it says it isn’t available here in my country yet.i uses vpost US address as my credit card billing address, any idea how to resolve this? thanks!


    The Google Store isn’t available here yet.
    We’re working to bring it to more countries as soon as possible.

    1. You have removed ALL your credit cards from your Google Wallet account, and then add one back with a U.S. address, and then waited for the card to be charged? I’ve tested to “switch countries” and it works for me.

      1. i was using the same cc card and shipment address from vpost, just tried removing everything adding a new cc with shipment address from com gateway.hope it works >,<

      2. Couldn’t seem to get to the US store either. My card isn’t being charged. Doesn’t say in Google Wallet the payment method will be verified. Am I missing something here?

  2. HI Zit Seng, i tried following your steps but unable to. In the end i use com gateway BUY FOR ME service with an additional 5% charge. I just want to confirm the Nexus 6p from google store online will be an unlocked set that i can use in Singapore? Thank you

          1. Noted with thanks. From your blog it seems only the 5x is different.. but i will go google.. as long as it can be use in SG.. haha thanks once again

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