Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Google Wallet Updated To Focus Less On NFC

Google has announced a newly updated version of Google Wallet is now available for 'all Android devices' running Android 2.3 or higher. The new app shows less focus on NFC dropping the previous requirements of an NFC chip with a secure element, something only Nexus devices and about 12 other, mostly Samsung phones had.

This new update makes the app compatible with the vast majority of Android handsets currently on the market and adds compatibility with several carrier devices that had all but been block. Carriers had been declaring all-out war on Google Wallet, with three of the big four (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile) banning it outright from their phones in favor of ISIS, a competing solution that has yet to be released.

New App New Focus
 While Google really hasn't changed the way Wallet works. Paying for stuff at a terminal will still require you to have one of the select few phones with NFC and be using a carrier that hasn't banned it. What Google has done is add features that non-NFC equipped phones can use. You can now send money to an e-mail address, just like PayPal. There is also increased focus on the use of loyalty cards which can be scanned directly into the app. Several companies including Alaska Airlines, Belly, and Red Mango will allow you to join their program directly within the Google Wallet app. For these, and several upcoming merchants, you will be able to view your loyalty status, rewards point balance and in the coming days, Google Now will notify you when you have a saved loyalty program nearby.

Sending Money PayPal Style
Google recently announced the ability to send money in Gmail using Google Wallet. Now, with the Google Wallet app, you can easily and securely send money on the go much the same as you would with PayPal. As with PayPal it will be free to send money directly from your bank account or Google Wallet Balance, with what are promised to be low fees applied when using your linked credit or debit card.

Doing What Google Wallet Is Best At
One thing that hasn't changed much is the overall backbone of the new Google Wallet app. As mentioned you can still use NFC and a supported device (and carrier) to make payments. You can also see all your purchases made with Google Wallet in one place:
  • In-store purchases: If you have one of the 29 different NFC-enabled devices, you can continue to tap and pay at hundreds of thousands of US locations, while also enjoying the new Wallet features. We also have more NFC-enabled devices on the horizon as we continue to invest in NFC with our partners.
  • Online and mobile purchases: You can continue to speed through online shopping by using your Google Wallet account to pay on Google Play, select mobile websites or a growing set of Android apps.
You can download the new version of the Google Wallet app on the Google Play Store, which will begin rolling out this week in the US.

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