Google Wallet update moves away from NFC to loyalty and offers, now compatible with all Android devices

Google Wallet update moves away from NFC to loyalty and offers, now compatible with all Android devices
Google Wallet has come a long way. The last time we talked about a major update to the app, it was when Google moved all of the data to the cloud, which removed the security worries that various banks had, so all major credit cards could then be used. But, the app still required devices with NFC chips, which led to very limited device compatibility.

Today started a rollout of an update to Google Wallet that completely changes the nature of the app. The option to pay with a tap is still there if you have NFC, but Google has removed the requirement for NFC, meaning the app will now be compatible with all Android devices running 2.3 and higher. In order to offer something for those who don't have NFC, Google has added in options for sending money much like PayPal, which has been rolling out in Gmail for a while. 

The app also now supports loyalty cards and offers. So, you can add your various loyalty cards for hotels, airlines, and other businesses and have them on your phone ready to scan when you're at the checkout. No need to carry the actual cards anymore. Google says that soon the app will also notify you when you are near a store for which you have a loyalty card. And, on that same location-based idea, Google Wallet will now integrate with Google Offers, and other offers that you find on Google+, Google Maps, or even on some coupon sites like Valpak. Offers will be able to be saved to your Wallet for use when you checkout at the related store. 

This is easily the biggest update to Google Wallet yet, and it pushes the app towards Google's aim of having it be an actual replacement for your wallet. The update is rolling out, so if you are still getting the message saying the app isn't compatible, just check back later. 

Download: Google Wallet



1. Astro551

Posts: 46; Member since: Dec 18, 2011

any plans on sending this to anywhere apart from the US? :L

2. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

If the only excuse carriers used to block Google Wallet was NFC requirement, why did it take this long to remove? Edit: Upon further reading, NFC will not be enabled for any device (aka carrier) it wasn't enabled on before. So I may as well uninstall it and reinstall the jimmyrigged version of Google Wallet which does allow NFC payments on any device.

3. milesboy5

Posts: 179; Member since: Nov 07, 2012

I was thinking the same thing. Verizon has long banned the downloading of google wallet because of the "insecurity" it had (not directly pointing at NFC but thats what was the problem Verizon had with it). Does this long overdue update fix said "insecurity" is my question. I don't want to have to unlock or root my phone to enjoy the features I should get anywhere else.

4. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

This update doesn't fix anything regarding NFC. If you were previously unable to install the app due to carriers blocking it, you will now be able to install the app, but NFC capabilities will be disabled. tldr; You can still only use NFC payments on phones (carriers) that previously allowed it.

6. Ivan6479

Posts: 250; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Care to share this so called jimmyrigged version of Google Wallet you have figured out? Also does it require you to be rooted?

7. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

I didn't figure it out, but you can read about it at XDA: This post is for the GS3 variants. You'd have to search around if you have a different phone. Yeah; it requires root.

5. scriptwriter

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

And yet, we STILL cant get it in the UK even though most major retail stores have contactless payments. Sort it Google!!!

8. t_newt

Posts: 3; Member since: Apr 28, 2012

I think the UK contactless payments use RFID not NFC, I'm not sure if NFC can be used with these RFID systems.

9. t_newt

Posts: 3; Member since: Apr 28, 2012

Further research shows the NFC is compatible with RFID, so we are back to Google dealing with phones that don't have NFC in the first place (or the carrrier not allowing it). Certainly, for phones in the UK with NFC, Google should try to get Google Wallet to work with these contactless systems.

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