Google has released a new version of its NFC-based Google Wallet. The new version provides an improved user interface, application stability, and battery life. The improvements, however, hardly qualify as the major upgrade described in October 2012.
Google announced in October 2012 that a new version was on its way — a banner message on the Google Wallet website promises the next version is “coming soon” and allows users to request an invite — and this was originally expected to be released in November.
Leaked images suggest that this new version will see the introduction of a physical companion card for the virtual MasterCard that was introduced with the major relaunch of Google Wallet in August 2012, as well as support for transit cards, peer-to-peer money transfers and both account deposits and withdrawals.
The app now includes three tabs: My Wallet, Transactions, and Explore. The “My Wallet” tab enables users to select a funding source and view stored offers, rewards cards, and gift cards. The “Transactions” tab lets users to view details from previous, individual transactions. The “Explore” tab displays two types of offers: “Featured” and “Nearby.”
While the updates are improvements, the previous user interface was not what was holding Google Wallet back from dominance over the payments market. In order to convince consumers to adopt mobile payments, Google needs to provide them with more merchants willing to accept mobile payments, and, more importantly, willing to enable consumers to store both offers and loyalty cards within their Google Wallet. Google needs to provide consumers motivation to change their habits from paying with a card to paying with a phone. The convenience of integrating payments, coupons, and rewards points into a single tap is the greatest source of motivation that Google can provide.
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