Previously, Google’s payments ecosystem has been fragmented between Wallet and Android Pay. Wallet was intended to let you send and request money with people you know, while Android Pay provided ways to pay in stores using your phone. Recognising this differentiation was unnecessary, Google’s now replacing the apps with the single “Google Pay” brand.
The Google Pay app has a tabbed interface which currently includes two sections. The Home tab is designed to be a kind of discovery portal for stores near you, exposing nearby shopping areas and local tips. Home also showcases discounts and rewards from the stores you’ve previously shopped at, helping you save money next time.
The second tab, Cards, provides an overview of all your stored payment options. It lists your credit cards, loyalty and gift codes, saved offers and promotional discounts. Cards is the entrypoint to your digital wallet, where you can select the payment method to use at checkout.
Google Pay currently works at all the locations where Android Pay was available. This includes inside retail stores and on selected public transit networks in cities such as Kiev, London and Portland. More options will be available “soon.” Google’s also planning to integrate Pay into its other first-party products, so you’ll be able to use stored cards and discounts when you’re buying online in Chrome or voice shopping with Assistant.
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“The app, which begins rolling out today, is just one part of everything we’ve got planned,” said Google. “We’re currently working on bringing Google Pay to all Google products, so whether you’re shopping on Chrome or with your Assistant, you’ll have a consistent checkout experience using the cards saved to your Google Account. We’re also working with partners online and in stores, so you’ll see Google Pay on sites, in apps, and at your favorite places around the world.”
Although Android Pay and Google Wallet have now been unified, the latter service isn’t yet available inside the Google Pay app. For the time being, you’ll need to keep using the separate app to make and request transfers between individuals. Google’s renamed Google Wallet to Google Pay Send to indicate that it’s been brought into the Pay brand. Payment transfers will be added to the Google Pay app for U.S. and U.K. users within the next few months.
The plan for Google Pay is to make mobile payments simpler and more approachable for new users. By combining all its payment services into one app, Google will reduce confusion and friction for users who are new to transferring money from their phone. The company said Google Pay continues to have the same security features as Android Pay and will never share your complete card numbers with stores.