Google may bring back the old Wallet brand to serve as the Android platform’s home for crucial passes and contactless credit cards.
Contactless payments have been a bit of a mess on Android, mostly because Google seems to be changing its strategy all the time. The majority of the world’s operations are and have always been controlled by a separate app that only handles your contactless payments in addition to other supported tickets and passes.
While in some nations, such as the US, Singapore, and India, there is a completely different app called that offers peer-to-peer payments, a variety of social features, and formerly housed Google’s abandoned plans for banking. This app places less of an emphasis on contactless payments because Google Play Services, rather than GPay, manages your cards and passes.
The disadvantage of the GPay app is that, unlike the prior Google Pay software, it can only be installed on one device at a time. Instead, your second device must make use of the older software in order to make contactless payments on multiple devices. With the Cards and passes feature, which provides easy access to your payment cards from the lock screen and quick settings, Pixel phones have avoided this little issue, but this feature is not present on the majority of other Android devices.
We were the first to alert readers last week that Google was working on a new Wallet symbol, which we predicted would be a portal to anything from payment cards to digital tickets, boarding passes, and vaccine passports. We get our first glimpse of what Google has in store for Wallet on Android in fresh screenshots supplied on Twitter by Mishaal Rahman.
Mishaal Rahman pictures We can see that Wallet aims to provide payment cards, loyalty cards, and more all in one location on what looks to be a landing page. The applet looks to offer a Material You-styled redesign of all the same functionality as the traditional Google Pay experience that was integrated into Play Services.
Your default Google Pay contactless payment card is displayed in a dedicated area at the top of the Google Wallet app. It’s interesting how this sentence is phrased because it implies that even after adding the card to Wallet, Google Pay is still used to complete the transaction. It is implied that the two are different and that both brands might endure.
Below this, we can see the standard list of loyalty cards, where we would probably also be able to see any future tickets for events or vacations. Each item on the list has been cleverly color-matched to the company’s logo. A floating Add to wallet button on the page makes it simple to add a new credit card, loyalty program membership, gift card, or transit account. Even the new Wallet icon is usable in the recent applications view on Android.
Mishaal Rahman pictures Revision 4/19: Google has further tweaked the design of Wallet after updating Google Play Services to a beta version. In particular, a card urging users to check for Add to Google Wallet buttons that may exist online and make it simple to store tickets and passes in the app is now present on the Add to Wallet page.
The existing ability to Save to Google Pay would appear to be replaced/rebranded by such a button in a 1:1 manner. This adds to the evidence that Google Pay as we currently know it might divide into two separate but connected services. Google Pay would presumably continue to handle peer-to-peer and internet payments, leaving Google Wallet to handle all contactless purchases and tickets/passes on Android smartphones.
Overall, it appears that there are no new features to be seen. This appears to be a new access point for Google’s current set of payment methods, although one that goes by the name of a fresh or revived Wallet. Although it would be fantastic to have Wallet have its own app icon in the launcher, it is unclear how it is meant for Android device owners to access Wallet.
However, Google’s most recent reimagining of the Wallet brand, which at first just housed peer-to-peer payments and a related debit card, appears to still be in the early stages of development. Before this new Wallet reaches Android users, it will probably take a few more months.
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