Google announced in May at its annual Google I/O conference that it would combine Google Pay and some features from other apps into a new app called Google Wallet.
Now that the new Google app is live, you can download it in 39 countries, but it works a little differently in some of them.
Google Wallet lets you pay for things and store things like vaccine cards, transit and event tickets, boarding passes, and loyalty cards. Apple’s Wallet has some of the same features, but Google’s version is better in some ways, like how it works better with other Google apps like Maps.
Some people will find the name confusing because Google already had a new Google app, which it later merged into Google Pay. Now that Pay has mostly become Wallet, it’s the other way around.
Now for the other part that makes no sense. Most of these markets will just get an automatic update that changes Google Pay to Google Wallet. But in the United States and Singapore, Google Wallet will be a separate app that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. It will still work alongside the Google Pay app. Google says this is for people who want “deeper payment experiences” like being able to see and manage their transactions, make P2P payments, and use offers to save money.
How Does Google App Work?
Before Google Wallet, Google Pay could store more than just your credit cards and bank accounts. It could also store boarding passes, event confirmations, transit balances, and other tools that weren’t strictly “payments.”
By changing the name to Google Wallet, Google is showing that the app is for more than just shopping. Instead, it’s meant to be a digital wallet that stores credit and debit cards, passes, proof of vaccination, gift cards, and coupons that you’d normally keep in a physical wallet.
If you put something in Google Digital Wallet, other Google apps that run on Android phones will be able to see it. So, if you get an email on Gmail with a new flight time, it will let you know and change the information about your boarding pass. Or, Wallet will sync with Google Maps, so if you choose a route that includes public transit and the transit system accepts Google Pay, a banner will appear with your current Wallet balance.
Here’s where it gets complicated: Google Pay will still work in stores, just like it did before. But you’ll use the app to choose your digital cards and make Google Pay purchases. So, if you see that a store accepts Google Pay, you’ll need the Wallet app, not Pay.
Whatever cards you could store in Google Pay before, like credit cards and transit passes, you can now store in Google Wallet. Also at Google I/O, the company announced new digital ID cards that will eventually work with Google Wallet.
First of all, this new Wallet app lets you store your credit and debit cards. Most banks and cards are supported, but you can check to see if yours is on Google’s list of supported contactless payments by country.
You can add your loyalty cards or membership cards if the company that runs the program has given Google Pay its API. Then, you’ll be able to pay for things by tapping your phone or watch to apply discounts or balances or to pay for them directly.
Also, you can keep your boarding passes and event tickets in Google app, so all you have to do to get on a plane or into a stadium is pull them up on your phone and tap it.