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Google Wallet vs Google Pay: What is the difference?

Google at its I/O 2022 conference announced Google Wallet for storing credit and debit cards and digital IDs. But is the same as Google Pay. We explain.

GPay

Image: Google


Google back at I/O 2022 earlier this month, announced the launch of Google Wallet as a means for storing student ID, transit tickets, vaccine card, credit cards, debits cards. At its annual event, Google said that Google Wallet will also be available on Wear OS. Additionally, the company announced that Wallet users will be able to check the balance of transit passes and top up within Google Maps. Also Read - How to turn on Dark Mode on Google Chrome

Interestingly, the announcement comes as Google is already offering a payments platform called Google Pay or GPay to users across the globe. This has created confusion among users, many of whom are wondering if Google has rebranded Google Pay as Google Wallet, as it did with Google Pay when it was Tez, or if Google Wallet is a separate service. Also Read - Google's on-device machine learning will help you block pop-ups and do a lot more

So, here’s a simple explainer that will answer all your queries about Google Wallet and Google Pay. But first a history lesson. Also Read - How to copy text from Photos on Android and iPhone: A step-by-step guide

Google Wallet ain’t new

To begin with, Google Wallet isn’t exactly new. Google had first launched Google Wallet back in 2011. At the time, Google Wallet allowed Android users to tap their phones against readers at select stores to make payments digitally. However, it had one critical limitation: it only worked with Google’s Nexus smartphones. Additionally, it only supported credit and debit cards by Citi, MasterCard, FirstData and Sprint for making payments.

While announcing Google Wallet back in 2011, Google had said that users will be able to store their credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and gift cards in the Wallet. “When you tap to pay, your phone will also automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you,” the company had written in a blog post at the time. The hope was that someday, users would be able to hold “things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet”, something users will be able to do with Google Wallet now. More on that later.

Google Wallet becomes Android Pay

Four years later at Google I/O 2015, the company replaced Google Wallet with Android Pay. Android Pay was in essence an evolution of Google Wallet as it facilitated payments across all Android devices. It was also easier to use as it didn’t require users to download a separate app. However, instead of killing Google Wallet, the company turned into a peer-to-peer payments service.

Google Wallet and Android Pay become Google Pay

Then in 2018, Google folded Google Pay and Google Wallet into a single app called Google Pay. Google Pay not only offered in-store contactless payments but it also offered peer-to-peer payments and online payments. Google Pay took over Google Wallet’s role for holding event tickets, transit cards and gift cards. It also replaced Chrome’s autofill feature, giving Android users flexibility to use one service for all of their digital payments and digital IDs and cards.

A thing called Google Pay Send

In 2018, before Android Pay and Google Wallet were being folded into Google Pay, the old Google Wallet app was rebranded as Google Pay Send for sending and receiving payments online. The app was discontinued in 2020 leaving Google Pay the only app in town.

Then came Tez

While Google was working on improving Google Pay, it launched a digital payments app in India called Tez in 2018. Tez was aimed at facilitating peer-to-peer payments using India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI). In time, the service also got features that enabled users to pay utility bills, and get reward points among other things.

Adding more confusion to the mix, Google rebranded Tez as Google Pay and replayed it with moniker ‘GPay’ in the app. It also introduced this service in other parts of the world. In India, the company continued to offer GPay, which is what we are using right now. However, in other markets, that is, the US and Singapore, the company offered two separate apps — the old Google Pay and the new GPay.

google, google wallet

Image: Google

At last came Google Wallet

Now in 2022, the company has launched Google Wallet. Users can do everything that they did with Google Pay (not Tez). Google says that Google Wallet will notify you of delays and gate changes when you are about to board a flight. “When you head to a concert, you’ll receive a notification on your phone beforehand, reminding you of your saved tickets…Wallet also works with other Google apps — for instance if you’re taking the bus to see a friend and look up directions in Google Maps, your transit card and balance will show up alongside the route,” the company wrote in a blog post.

“Plus, even if you lose your credit or debit card and you’re waiting for the replacement to show up, you can still use that card with Google Wallet because of the virtual number attached to it,” the company added.

Google Wallet will be available in 40 countries where Google Pay is available where it will automatically replace the service. The list includes: Australia, Estonia, Japan (coming soon), Slovakia, Austria, Finland, Kazakhstan, Spain, Belgium, France, Latvia, Sweden, Brazil, Germany, Lithuania, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Greece, Netherlands, Taiwan, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Ukraine, Chile, Hungary, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Croatia, Ireland, Poland, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Israel, Portugal, Denmark, Italy and Romania.

Google Pay and Google Wallet ARE different

Google has confirmed that Google Wallet will not be coming to India, where GPay will continue to be the default offering. However, in Singapore and in the US, Google will offer both these apps, that is, GPay and Google Wallet. “We’ll keep growing this app as a companion app where you can do more payments-focused things like send and receive money from friends or businesses, discover offers from your favorite retailers or manage your transactions,” the company said.

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  • Published Date: May 20, 2022 2:22 PM IST



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