Tuesday , February 27, 2024

Google Wallet Expands Its Reach Across Countries And Devices

Months after the introduction of Google Wallet, Alphabet Inc. announced late Tuesday it is expanding the availability of the digital wallet to 12 more countries, bringing the total number of countries where the wallet is available to 57. Users will now also be able to make the wallet available on the fitness watches Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Versa 4.

The move to expand availability to new geographies brings with it key features that have been part of Google Wallet, since its launch earlier this year, including the ability to tap and pay on public-transit systems, as well as the ability to save digital tickets for events and to access airline boarding passes. The aim of including these features is to provide consumers a safe place to carry digital versions of items that used to be physical and make them safer than their physical counterparts, says Dong Min Kim, director of product, Payments, at Google, by email.

The decision to enable Google Wallet to be accepted by mass-transit systems was driven by consumers’ growing preference for contactless payment transactions, especially since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Transit is one of the most popular use cases for contactless technology, Kim says.

“During the pandemic, we saw more and more people around the world start to take advantage of contactless payments, especially when it comes to paying for transit. It’s one of the most popular use cases for contactless payments, so Google Wallet offers support for both open- and closed-loop transit systems in hundreds of cities around the world,” Kim adds. 

Part of what makes transit a ripe merchant segment for contactless payments is that is enables faster throughput at the turnstile. “When people are running to catch a bus or a train, they want a fast and efficient way to pay,” Kim says. “If you can remove the friction of having to pull out a specific card, swiping it, reloading it and having to touch the same surfaces that so many other people are touching daily, the whole process gets smoother for everyone involved, which is why we’ve seen contactless payments do so well in the world of transit.”

To enable the storage of event tickets in Google Wallet, Alphabet is partnering with leading ticket sales and distribution companies, includingTicketmaster, Thaiticketmajor in Thailand, Cinemaxx in Germany, and Ticketek, Humanitix, and Oztix in Australia.

To enable the storage of airline boarding passes, Alphabet is working with airlines such as AirAsia, Air France, China Air, Ryanair, and United Airlines. Wallet users will be able to store multiple boarding passes. To add a boarding pass, Google Wallet users take a screenshot of it on their Pixel phone and tap “Add to Google Wallet,” Jenny Cheng, vice president and general manager, Google Wallet, said in a blog post announcing the enhancements.

The decision to make Google Wallet compatible with Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Versa 4 is part of Alphabet’s strategy to make Google Wallet compatible with as many mobile and wearable devices as possible, Kim says. Last month, Alphabet announced Google Wallet is now compatible with Google Pixel Watch.

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