TECHNOLOGY

Why you should download Google Wallet now

Google has a history of updating and iterating on many of its popular services. It’s killed Allo, Hangouts, and countless other software products over the years to confuse us all, so it’s no surprise that it updated Google Pay to become Google Wallet.

Google has decided to turn Google Pay into Google Wallet for all Android users via an app update. So if you already have Google Pay, you’ll see some changes soon. But it’s not that simple.

The company had already redesigned Google Pay in the US and Singapore. Strangely, those countries will get both Google Pay and Google Wallet with much the same functionality, but the redesign will roll out to the rest of the world as just Google Wallet, and Google Pay will disappear. India only gets Google Pay. It’s the Google logic we know and love!

Google Wallet is very similar to the one-stop-shop approach to mobile payments and goes like Apple uses with its own (you guessed it) Wallet app for iOS.

Much of Wallet’s functionality is not new, but it is still worth updating the app to the latest version. Here’s what it can do.

It stores your credit and debit cards

As before, you can store your credit and debit cards digitally so you can make payments if your phone has NFC and the store you’re in accepts contactless or tap to pay.

If you use it often, it’s a good place to centrally view all your transactions.

Henry Burrell / Foundry

It keeps your payment details more secure

With your cards registered, you can also pay for items using Google Wallet on many mobile websites, instead of entering your details each time or giving that information to multiple merchants unnecessarily.

It shows your boarding passes

When you go abroad, you can download your electronic boarding passes to Google Wallet so you don’t have to print them. When it’s time to board, the app displays a constant notification on your lock screen and in the notification shade to make sure it’s always easy to find.

The app can also store concert tickets and other tickets in some cases, as well as vaccine tickets in countries that use them.

It stores your transit passes

You’ll have better luck if you live in the US for this one — at launch, Google Wallet will have the ability to store your transit pass for many US subway and rail systems, but no further afield.

It stores your loyalty cards and gift cards

Google Wallet also scans your Gmail and accurately displays loyalty cards from supermarkets and other stores and stores them in the app for easy finding.

Likewise, if you get a gift card, many local merchants are supported in Google Wallet. In the UK this includes Tesco, Costa, Asda, John Lewis and Boots.

It stores your air miles memberships

With similar scanning capabilities, it also finds your airline miles membership numbers for easy reference.

Henry Burrell / Foundry

What are you waiting for?

All in all, this is more of a Google Pay rebrand than an app with tons of new functionality. But it looks slicker thanks to a visual rebrand with Google’s Material You design language and an interface that’s more intuitive and easier to get around.

Tap this link from your Android phone to download Google Wallet.

If you’re in the US, you can also download Google Pay for iOS here if you prefer that to Apple Wallet.

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