It’s a streamlined app for contactless payments, passes, and loyalty cards
When Google relaunched Pay back at the tail end of 2020, it was supposed to bring all of the company’s financial features into a single app. Contactless payments still exist, but generally, the app’s current direction is towards rewards cards, financial tracking, and sending or receiving money from friends. In January, we learned of Google’s plans to build a “comprehensive digital wallet,” and today, we’re getting our first look at what that might mean.
Esper.io’s Mishaal Rahman shared some screenshots of the new UI on Twitter. This look brings back the old “Wallet” name, something Google abandoned back in 2018 when merging it and Android Pay into one service. These screenshots even include last week’s leaked icon, pointing towards a more comprehensive rethinking of how Google Pay currently works than initially expected.
This new version of “Wallet” seems to follow through on the original plans the company laid out back in January when first bringing ex-PayPal executive Arnold Goldberg to lead the payments team. Pitched as a digital wallet for all of your cards – payment and otherwise – this new UI supports “payment cards, loyalty cards, and more all in one place.” Airline passes, theater tickets, gift cards, and transit fare cards all show up throughout the app, with the option to add more as needed.
According to the settings menu, Wallet can automatically pull passes and tickets from your Gmail account, another feature currently supported by Google Pay. You can also enable purchase reviews to keep an eye on your transactions.
This version of Wallet seems to duplicate plenty of the contactless features and functions of the current version of Google Pay without the additional bloat. According to Rahman, this UI is built into Google Play Services, which could point to a new split between Wallet and Pay, effectively returning us to a pre-2018 payment platform on Android.
It’s an interesting idea, and while not everyone will be happy to see two different payment platforms on their devices once more, it’s clear that Pay’s plan to compete with apps like Venmo and Mint has not caught on. We’ll have to wait to see when Google’s ready to announce this relaunched digital wallet initiative, but with I / O less than a month away, this service might be just around the corner.
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