Google today unveiled Google Wallet at its I/O developer conference. This new Android and Wear OS software enables users to save items such as credit cards, loyalty cards, digital IDs, metro passes, concert tickets, immunization cards, and more. That was rather simple, however, things become a little murky after this. After all, Google has long provided the Google Pay app (and yes, a Google Wallet app, as well), where you could store your credit cards for contactless and online purchases.
Google made some significant modifications to Google Pay back in 2020 to emphasize it more on tracking your spending and exchanging money with friends and family. At that time, Google even intended to introduce its own bank account, which customers would control using Google Pay, in collaboration with financial institutions like Citi. Plex was a project that was announced but never materialized since the executive in charge of it departed Google just six months after it was first revealed.
According to Google, Google Pay is currently accessible in 42 markets. Because Google Pay is still predominantly used as a wallet in 39 of those markets, consumers in those areas will only see a Google Pay app upgrade to the new Google Wallet app. However, Google Pay will continue to be the payments-focused app in the US and Singapore while the Wallet app will continue to operate in parallel and concentrate on holding your digital cards. Google claims that “customers will continue to use their Google Pay app they are accustomed to today” in India.
Arnold Goldberg, VP and GM of Payments at Google, who joined the firm earlier this year after a lengthy tenure at PayPal, stated that “The Google Pay app will be a companion app to the Wallet.” “Consider [the Google Pay app] as this higher-value app that will be a location for you to make payments and handle money, whereas the wallet will truly be this container for you to hold your payment assets and your non-payment assets,” the author said.
According to Goldberg, Google made this decision in light of the fast digitalization that has been occurring over the past two years of the epidemic. From a purely behavioral standpoint, “we speak about 10 years of change in two years, and people virtually expect today digitalization versus it being a nice-to-have pre-COVID,” he added. It has sharpened our attention on what we must do as a payments organization and as a business to reinvent not just how we handle payments online and in-person, but also how we can help individuals use their digital wallets.