Google seems to have quietly launched Google Wallet, a powerful, rather limited version of the e-wallet for Android devices. Google Pay (GPay), which is a pre-existing product, will continue to operate and retain all of its features and functions.
An updated version of Google Wallet, the fourth rebrand of Google’s payment system, is available for some Android smartphone users. Google had hinted that it would launch a new version in July, but the actual launch hasn’t been formally announced.
Only a few Redditors, and an installer APK file available for sideloading, have confirmed the existence of the latest version of Google Wallet (v2.150.460235810). However, Google has launched some support pages for its Wallet app.
The updated app is named “Wallet”. Google clearly wants the app to be the single destination for most physical means of payment. Additionally, according to 9To5Google, the Wallet app can not only handle credit and debit card duties, but can also serve as a replacement for travel tickets, flight boarding passes, gift/loyalty cards and vaccination records. Even virtual car keys and student ID can be included in the Wallet app.
Google Wallet started its journey as Android Pay, which was later rebranded as Google Pay or GPay. But Google seems to have settled on the naming of App Wallet. Perhaps Google wants to subtly remind users about the platform’s many functions and support for multiple types of authentication and payment methods.
On the other hand, the new Google Pay app appears to be an evolution focused on offering cardless and contactless payments via smartphones. However, the rollout of GPay is also confusing. It already has a limited fork called “Google Pay (Fast)”.
Ars Technica reports that the package name for Google Wallet is “com.google.android.apps.walletnfcrel”, which states that “Google Wallet is an in-place upgrade to the older Google Pay app”. It looks like Google has determined that the Google Pay and Google Wallet apps will live alongside each other for now. The Google Play Services backend will handle tap-and-pay, while in the US, the new Google Pay will handle P2P payments.
At present, Google Pay will compete with Apple Pay. Meanwhile, Google Wallet will be rolling out as an update to the old GPay. The updated Wallet app currently supports tap-to-pay cards visible in a carousel, with the aforementioned support for other types of cards expected to arrive sometime later.