Mobile payments and wallets have become all the rage in recent years. From the likes of Apple and Samsung creating their own payment apps (Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, respectively) to a plethora of third-party mobile wallets like Paytm, PayPal, AliPay, etc., everybody wants to cash in on the potential of the mobile payments ecosystem. Google too has been a player in the space with Android Pay, a digital wallet platform to power in-app and tap-to-pay purchases on mobile devices (including Android phones, tablets, and watches), and Google Wallet, a P2P payments service that allows transfer of funds between devices at zero cost. The tech giant announced Google Pay as a successor that combines features of both the apps into one seamless experience in early January 2018.
Today, in a blog post, Gerardo Capiel, Product Management Director, and Varouj Chitilian, Engineering Director, of the Consumer Payments team at Google finally announced the global rollout of Google’s latest mobile payments offering. The app retains many features from the much-loved Android Pay app, along with a couple of new features, including added layers of security. The app essentially has two sections – a “Home” section which shows a host of useful information, including recent payment activity, nearby participating stores and shops, rewards information, and tips (all displayed in Google’s trademark cards), and a new “Cards” tab that holds all the information about your individual credit, debit, reward, and gift cards.
Google has ambitious plans for the app, including universal support across all Google products, as well as global support with an (undisclosed) number of partners online and in stores around the world. Other plans, according to the post, include the use of Google Pay for transit fares in various cities (London, Kiev, and Portland appear to be supported currently, with more cities promised to be added soon).
While Google has previously said that it plans to integrate Android Pay and Google Wallet offerings into Google Pay, the company’s blog post revealed that the Wallet app has been temporarily rebranded as Google Pay Send and it will be receiving an update soon to match its look and feel with the Google Pay ecosystem. However, the company clearly plans to integrate Google Wallet’s money transfer functionality into Google Pay – the blog post mentions that customers in the US and the UK “will be able to use it to send and request money within the next few months”.
Google is also opening the ecosystem to businesses that wish to register to use the new payment system for themselves through a partnership with Canadian e-commerce and POS company Shopify. Developers who want to build applications within the ecosystem can find a list of processor partners here and the developer toolkit here.
Google Pay will join an already crowded market, competing with the likes of Apple Pay/Apple Pay Cash, PayPal, Venmo, Gyft, eWallet, and many more. While the global rollout starts today, Android users will likely get the new app in phases over the next few days and weeks. Users who already have Android Pay installed on their devices should get an option to update it to Google Pay.