Google Wallet has been out for almost a year now, and it allows you to store your credit cards on your Android phone and make payments via NFC, but because of limited partnerships during its launch, it hasn’t really taken off yet.
Now that Google’s seen some of the features Apple plans to bring to the iPhone with the Passbook app, Google has decided to double down on Wallet and bring in new features so it functions more like Passbook.
In a Q&A video posted on YouTube, Robin Dua, head of product management for Google Wallet said the company hopes to be able to store anything consumers would want to store in a physical wallet – things like coupons, bus passes, gift cards, concert tickets, condoms, or pictures of your cute little puppy. You name it, Google wants you to stuff it in your virtual wallet now.
“One of the types of things we’re trying to do is make it easy for airlines, transit providers, and other types of issuers of credentials to make it super simple for them to get their credentials stored in the wallet,” Dua said. “That’s the goal. We want you to be able to leave your leather wallet at home and carry your phone and transact with that as your primary transaction device.”
Completely replacing consumers’ physical wallets with a virtual model will be a tough task that will probably take years because merchants will need to adopt new payment methods, but both Google and Apple are hard at work to make it a reality.
Apple’s new Passbook app is supposed to be one of the big new features of iOS 6, that will store “your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more now all in one place.”
Apple hasn’t said if Passbook will also become an app where users will eventually be able to store their credit cards for mobile payments, but the mission to create the first fully functioning virtual wallet now appears to be one of the biggest battles we’ll see in tech for the next five years.