Google has announced on 17th September, 2013 that they have upgraded their Google Wallet offering. The latest version of Google Wallet as TechHive puts it has features similar to that of Apple’s Passbook and much more. Unlike Apple’s Passbook, Google Wallet app allows users to make in-app purchases of physical goods and services, PoS payments and mobile payments. Google’s Wallet app has also added features such as:
1. Loyalty Cards
2. Money Transfer
Google Wallet allows users to scan loyalty cards which is similar to what Key Ring offers to its users. Through Google Wallet, users can scan their physical loyalty cards or key in the card details in to the app to keep a track of their purchases, earn points and redeem them. Some of the companies who have tied up with Google include Red Mango, Belly and Alaska Airlines. The other companies who plan to team with Google Wallet’s loyalty initiative include Hard Rock International, Mariott International, Avis Car Rental, The Body Shop, Cosi and InterContinental Hotels Group.
Google Wallet will also allow users to transfer money from their debit or credit cards or a user’s Wallet balance or through a bank account. Transfer made through bank accounts or through Wallet balance is free but transfer made through credit or debit cards are charged at 2.9% as transaction fees. Google Wallet users availing this feature will also get to experience the money attachment through Gmail feature, which was covered by the team of Lets Talk Payments last month. Though the service will initially be restricted for the users in USA only.
Google is set to partner with Valpak, owned by Cox Target Media, Inc. The official announcement on this partnership has not yet been made public. To clip a coupon, users don’t need to scan the coupon (through QR codes) available in print media like newspapers or magazines but just tap and save them in a Google Wallet.
Google Wallet users will be able to browse for nearby offers. This feature will be integrated with Google+ and Google Maps. Wallet users will be able to store offers and redeem them at checkout. The offers made available will be similar to the way Groupon showcases offers to its users. Any of the offers purchased will show up in Google Wallet, if the purchase is made through Google+, Google Maps, Google Offers or Google Search.
Less NFC Dependence
Google hasn’t done away with NFC yet but it isn’t mandatory for a Google Wallet app user to carry an NFC enabled phone anymore. While making an e-payment users’ have an option to use their NFC enabled device to be scanned by a reader at checkout. One of the alternatives for users who do not have NFC enabled devices is the usage of money transfer service from Google Wallet or Gmail.
- This seems to be an alternative approach taken by Google relying less on NFC as Apple and therefore a large eco-system keeps at bay with it.
- Some carriers supporting ISIS have been blocking Google’s Wallet service in the past.
- If you’re curious to find out about NFC enabled devices which are eligible for use with Google Wallet, you can find their list here.
LTP View: The latest update of Google Wallet seems to be a move to make Google Wallet as all in one app for all types of users for mobile payments, redeeming coupons, browsing through offers, and doing money transfers. The move from Google also seems to be a work around the problem which Google is facing as some of the carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, etc. push ISIS. The updated version of Google Wallet may soon be available to download but it will interesting to see what the major carriers will do to promote ISIS over Google’s mobile payment service.