Google Wallet gets spiffy updates

If you thought that Chrome was the only app from Google to get an update yesterday, you are in for a surprise. The company announced some new features for the Google Wallet app for both Android and IOS.

New features added to Google Wallet

First up, Google has enabled customers to store gift cards in the wallet app. Users just need to snap an image of the barcode on the card or type in the details. Users can also check the balance of some cards and even receive reminders on their phone when they are near certain stores.

An impressive list of retailers are supporting the gift-card feature: AMC, BestBuy, Nike, Sepora, TGI Friday’s, Toys R Us and Whole Foods market.

The previous version of Google Wallet enabled users to store loyalty cards, so this addition is a logical move.

The next feature added by Google is the ability to request money from others.

For all those times when your friends forget to pay you back for dinner, you can simply request money using the Google Wallet app (for U.S. users, 18 years and older), said Glenn Thrope, product manager of Google Wallet, in a press release. They will receive a notification and can instantly pay you back. If they need a reminder, you can send them a friendly nudge from within the app. You can also send your friends a message right within Gmail, and request money just like you would attach a picture.

When a user requests a payment from a friend, he will receive a notification that can be customized to be a message or an image. The user can send a reminder too.

The third feature is the ability to send money using debit cards, free of charge. Earlier the feature came with a price tag of 2.9 percent per transaction (minimum value $0.30).

Thrope said: You can now send money for free in Wallet by using your debit card. No more searching around for a checkbook or waiting for your funds to arrive. With Google Wallet, your money is at your fingertips.

Finally, Google has integrated Wallet with Spanish-language support. To get the display text in Spanish, the device language setting has to be toggled manually by the user.

Overall, we would say that these are pretty smart updates from Google. The feature to store gift cards will reduce the weight of the user’s wallet, and the feature to request money will make it easier to get money from friends, eliminating the need to ask for money in person.

The updates will roll out for Android and IOS users by the end of this week.