Major Google Wallet update hits new carriers and almost every Android
17th Sep 2013 | 20:11
Google Wallet ups the ante
Google announced today that a majorly updated Google Wallet app has been released for every Android phone in the U.S. running Android 2.3 and above.
That's an overwhelming percentage of Android phones - in July research from OpenSignal found that just 6.3 percent of Android devices were still on 2.2 or below, and that number has certainly continued to decrease since then.
Prior to today's update Google Wallet was available on just a handful of phones with Near Field Communication built in, but the app just got a lot more inclusive.
It also gained some important new features that will help it take on competition like PayPal.
Join the party
Today's update also makes the Google Wallet app available on AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, the three major U.S. carriers that previously blocked it.
That said, AllThingsD reports that users on those carriers still won't be able to use the NFC functions like tap-and-pay.
It's been speculated that those three carriers' lack of Google Wallet love stems from their support of competitor Isis.
Though we haven't heard much about Isis in a while, we've seen nothing to refute the theory, and the continued lack of support for Google Wallet's NFC functions is troubling for customers.
But AllThingsD did get a hint about Google Wallet coming to iOS at some point: "We want to bring Google Wallet to all smartphone users, and we're working to do that as soon as possible," a Google spokesperson told the site.
Change is in the air
The new Google Wallet app can send money from a user's bank account or existing Wallet balance directly to any U.S. adult with an email address. Users can also use a credit or debit card, though Google charges fees for that.
Using this feature also grants early access to sending money through Gmail, though.
The Google Wallet app can also scan, store and update loyalty programs like those from grocery stores, airlines, hotels, restaurants and elsewhere, with more options rolling out in future updates.
And savings and coupons from Google Search, Google Maps, Google+ and Google Offers will all appear in Google Wallet. Couponing sites like Valpak will be added later this week, and Google said it's working with more partners.
Finally, the app keeps track of all your purchases and activity, including those made using tap-and-pay on NFC-enabled Android devices.
Stay safe, kids
Google said in today's announcement that it takes security seriously.
To that end all Google Wallet transactions are monitored for fraud, all users are 100% protected against unauthorized use, and the Google Wallet app can be disabled remotely if a phone is lost or stolen.
And Google reiterated that users should choose strong passwords and enable two-step verification.