MULTI-FUNCTION: Google Wallet lets users store digital IDs as well as payment cards and transit tickets

Google is rolling out a digital wallet that will enable users to store, use and present digital identity documents and driving licences as well as payment cards, transit and event tickets, boarding and loyalty passes, health documents such as Covid-19 vaccination certificates, hotel keys and office badges on their Android smartphone or Wear OS smartwatch.

In addition to Google Wallet, the company is also to launch virtual payment cards on Android and Chrome that will enable consumers in the USA to make online payments without needing to reveal their card number or manually enter a card verification value (CVV) number at checkout.

Google Wallet

Users of the new Google Wallet will be able to add digital cards, tickets and other documents directly from apps and websites operated by transit agencies, retailers, ticket providers, health agencies and airlines that support the service, and Google says that it is also currently “working on ways to make it easy to add objects directly from your phone, too”.

Following the launch of the new Google Wallet, the company will continue to develop Google Pay as “a companion app where you can do more payment-focused things like send and receive money from friends or businesses, discover offers from your favourite retailers or manage your transactions,” Google says.

Google Wallet will also integrate with other Google apps and services so that “if you saved your boarding pass for a flight to Google Wallet, it will notify you of delays and gate changes,” Google product manager Dong Min Kim explains.

“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. If you’re running low on fare, you can tap and add more.

“We’ll also give you complete control over how items in your wallet are used to enable these experiences; for example, the personal information on your Covid vaccine pass is kept on your device and never shared without your permission, not even with Google.

“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.”

At launch, Google Wallet will be available with support for payment cards on Wear OS devices and “will be coming soon in over 40 countries” for Android and Wear OS devices.

Support for hotel keys and hotel badges will be added “soon” with support for digital driving licences and IDs due “later this year”, Google says.

A short video explains how the new Google Wallet works

Virtual cards

Google is also introducing virtual cards for online payments on Android and Chrome in the USA.

“When you use autofill to enter your payment details at checkout, virtual cards will add an additional layer of security by replacing your actual card number with a distinct, virtual number,” Google explains.

“This eliminates the need to manually enter card details like the CVV at checkout, and they’re easy to manage at pay.google.com — where you can enable the feature for eligible cards, access your virtual card number, and see recent virtual card transactions.

“Virtual cards will be rolling out in the US for Visa, American Express, Mastercard and all Capital One cards starting this summer.”

A short video shows how Google’s virtual cards work.

Google revealed its plans to develop a multipurpose digital wallet as part of a strategy to build a comprehensive service in January.

Google launches multipurpose digital wallet with support for digital IDs, tickets and payment cards was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.

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