Google Wallet Just Got a Bunch of New Features

Your Android phone's digital wallet is getting some new additions, from a driver's license to a gym membership pass.

Nelson Aguilar
Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
Nelson Aguilar
3 min read
Google Wallet presentation at Google I/O May 2022

Google Wallet was reintroduced at Google I/O 2022.

Google/Screenshot by CNET

Google Wallet has been around for over a decade, but the latest iteration, first unveiled at Google I/O 2022, officially relaunched during the summer last year -- and there are finally some major changes to the Android digital wallet.

Today, in a blog post, Google announced several new features for Google Wallet, including the ability to digitize your physical passes and use your driver's license or state ID with your Android phone. If you plan on creating a digital version of your health insurance card or other cards with sensitive information, Google has also added a "private pass" feature to provide better security.

If you want to check out what Google Wallet has to offer, here's what you need to know.

And while you're here, check out the best Android phone to buy in 2023 and our review of the Pixel 7 Pro.

Digitize your real-world passes into Google Wallet

Do you have a physical gym membership pass or library card that you can't access on your phone? Google Wallet now gives you the option to take photos of those same physical passes -- as long as they have a scannable barcode or QR code -- and convert them into digital passes you can store in your Google Wallet. That way, instead of rifling through your wallet, you can quickly whip out your Android device and have your pass scanned.


That includes your health insurance cards

One of the more important documents that you may have to carry is your health insurance card, which is proof of your insurance and helps facilitate your visits to the doctor or the hospital. These health insurance cards carry a lot of personal information, like your member ID, group number and employer (if you're covered through your job), so if you plan to digitize one, Google Wallet has a "private pass" feature, which requires you to use biometrics to add, use or view passes with sensitive information on your Android device.

Private passes in Google Wallet are protected by biometrics, like your fingerprint or face.


You can also add your ID to Google Wallet -- but only if you live in this one state

Late last year, Google started beta testing support for digital driver's licenses and state IDs in Maryland -- and that feature is now available to all eligible residents of the state. As long as you're running Android 8.0, you can now use your ID in Google Wallet to get through TSA PreCheck lines at select airports, like LAX and DFW. Later this year, Google expects to roll out more uses for digital IDs, including booking a car and verifying your online accounts.

Maryland ID in Google Wallet

In the coming months, the digital ID feature will expand to residents of Arizona, Colorado and Georgia.


And you can save passes directly from your text messages

If text messaging is your preferred method of communication, you'll be happy to know that you'll soon be able to receive boarding passes and train tickets via Google Messages (with RCS enabled) and then save those passes directly to your Google Wallet. This feature will begin rolling out with Vietnam Airlines and Renfe (Spain's national railway company).

This feature will also extend to restaurant reservations.

For more about Google, read about all the major reveals at Google I/O 2023 and how you can get access to Google's AI chatbot Bard.