Services & Software

Google Wallet Gets Better Support for IDs, Transit Passes and Privacy

Google Wallet will work on any Android phone running Lollipop (Android 5) or newer.

Google Wallet stores your data and cards securely and locally on your device.
Google

During the Google I/O 2022 keynote, Google Wallet got a number of updates and new functionality. Google Wallet can store digital versions of your essential documents, including payment cards, transit passes, office badges, vaccine records, car keys, boarding passes and student IDs. The idea is to provide a faster, more secure alternative to physical cards.

The updates to Google Wallet are another indication of just how reliant many people have become on digital payments, so that, as with a real wallet, people want secure access to more than just digital versions of their credit and debit cards.

Google Wallet originally launched in 2011 as away to store payments cards digitally. Over the years, much of Google Wallet's functionality was transferred to Google Pay. Google explained the difference between the two as being that Google Wallet gives you quick access to digital versions of physical things while Google Pay is more service-oriented.

For most places in the world this distinction won't matter. Later this summer more than 40 countries that currently use Google Pay will be upgraded to Google Wallet. The exceptions are India, which will still use Google Pay, and the US and Singapore, which will have both Google Wallet and Google Pay.

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Google is working with US states and international governments to support digital IDs, something Apple Wallet started to support in several US states back in March.

Google Wallet also has the ability to share a digital card over either NFC or via a QR code, which could be preferable in some cases to physically handing your phone over to someone checking it. 

Google Wallet also supports opt-in integrations with some other apps. For example, if you have a transit card in Google Wallet, your card and balance will automatically show up in Google Maps when you search for directions. That way, if your balance is low, you can add more money for the fare before you arrive at your station or stop. 

As for privacy, Google Wallet stores everything securely on your phone and doesn't share data with Google services. 

Google Wallet will be available on any device running Android 5 (Lollipop) or later, or Wear OS.

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