How is Google Wallet Different from Google Pay?

By Sunil Sonkar
7 Min Read
How is Google Wallet Different from Google Pay? 1

Google has come up with a new app called Google Wallet. It is especially designed to store payment cards, boarding passes, electronic car keys and more such similar digital stuff. The search giant announced about its wallet during the I/O 2022 developer conference in May. Soon after the announcement, Android users notice the new Google Wallet app was made available for download.

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However, the much-talked Google Wallet has a long history and has undergone several changes before its release. Well, questions do arise and many are in doubt whether Google Wallet will completely replace Google Pay. Some are questioning whether Google Pay still be around and what is the difference between the two services. Let us understand both in details and find out the differences between Google Wallet and Google Pay.

Evolution of Google Wallet

Google Wallet is not a new concept, of course. Google initially launched it in 2011 as mobile payment service. It allowed Android users to make payments. The payment process was simple. It required just a tap on supported phones against readers at select shops.

However, it then had some limitations. It was exclusively made available for the Nexus phone users. Moreover, users need to have a Citi MasterCard account or a Google Prepaid Card to make payments. It also required users to open the app and enter a PIN to access the cards. In short, it was somewhat cumbersome to use.

Transition to Android Pay

Google introduced Android Pay in 2015 and this replaced Google Wallet for contactless payments. It was easier as it was built into the Android system. There was no need to download an additional app. Users just need to unlock their phones and place it against a payment terminal to make a payment.

However, the launching was a follow of Apple’s Apple Pay. It highlighted that Android devices were also equipped for tap-to-pay functionality just as iPhone devices.

Google Wallet’s Shift to Peer-to-Peer Payments

Android Pay undoubtedly became popular for contactless payments, but Google Wallet continued to exist as a peer-to-peer payment service. It was something similar to PayPal, Venmo and Cash App. Users were able to send money to others by just using an email address or phone number.

Users at the receiving end were able to withdraw the money through their bank accounts or by using a Google Wallet Card for in-store payments or ATM withdrawals. Later, Google discontinued it and merged the service with Android Pay.

Merging Into Google Pay

Google merged Google Wallet and Android Pay in 2018 and created Google Pay. It integrated features from both the apps. It offered contactless payments in-store as well as peer-to-peer payments online in a single app. It became more comprehensive and satisfied both digital wallet and Android users.

It supported flight passes, transit cards, event tickets, gym memberships, gift cards and many more digital stuff. Simultaneously, it also replaced the autofill feature of Chrome and enabled seamless online purchases.

Short-Lived Google Pay Send

Following the successful merger of the two services, Google redesigned Google Wallet into Google Pay Send, but only for a short period. It mainly focused on sending and receiving payments online. However, Google Pay Send was discontinued in 2020. Its features were fully integrated into Google Pay.

Google Pay’s Redesign

The changes gradually paved the path of successful integration of the apps into one and Google thereafter experimented a redesigned version of Google Pay in India. It was called Google Tez. The new version introduced several new features such as in-app messaging, personalized offers, transaction history and receipt scanning.

It simultaneously started charging small fees for debit card transfers. Google Pay app was rolled out in other regions too abreast of the availability of the older version of Google Pay. However, Google Pay was discontinued in the US in April 2021.

Return of Google Wallet

Google announced the revival of Google Wallet in 2022. It appeared with new design during the I/O conference. The new version was made available for Android and Wear OS. It facilitated users to store debit and credit cards, flight passes, event tickets, vaccination cards, digital IDs and driver’s licenses. Google Wallet thereafter became a comprehensive digital wallet for various types of information apart from payment cards.

Which Service to Use in the US?

Google Wallet has become the primary Android payment service and digital wallet in the United States and Singapore. It successfully replaced Google Pay. It allowed users to store hotel keys, driver’s licenses, boarding passes and several more digital stuff easily apart from being a popular contactless payments app in the countries. Meanwhile, it is learned that Google Pay will continue as peer-to-peer payments app and enable users to send money to friends and family.

Global Availability

Now, the update to Google Wallet has been rolled out in Mexico, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, France and more countries. The total count is 39 countries. However, Indian users are still using Google Pay as their everyday digital wallet. The Google Wallet update is not available in the region.

Verdict

Google Wallet is more organized. It has a user-friendly approach due to the managing of digital payments and various types of passes as well as cards. It is offering several functionalities in the US and other regions. However, abreast of Google Wallet, Google Pay is made available for peer-to-peer payments. Here, in this article we tried to understanding the evolution as well as the differences between the two services. This will help in making the most of Google’s digital wallet offerings.

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