Although Android Pay is the new face of mobile payments on Android-powered smartphones, Google has not completely done away with Google Wallet. Instead, the mobile powerhouse has opted to revamp Google Wallet for the Apple iOS world. Essentially, it's a peer-to-peer payment system.
According to its App Store description, the new Google Wallet "makes it easy" to send money to anyone in the U.S. with an e-mail address -- even if that person doesn't have the Wallet app. There is no charge to send money directly from your debit card or bank account.
Google said the new and improved Wallet makes it easier than ever for Apple smartphone and tablet users to send and request money. Now you can also cash out directly to your debit card. Despite the improvements, though, there was one downgrade: You can no longer store loyalty cards, gift cards and other offers.
What Google Wallet Does
Still, Google is pushing Wallet hard in the iOS world, saying it will help you split bills or other expenses with your friends and request the amount each person owes. You can also spend the money you receive through Google Wallet at thousands of retail locations across the U.S. or even use it to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Google Wallet helps you keep track of your spending by adding a set amount to the balance. You can even set up a recurring transfer from your bank account. If you want to cash out your balance, you can transfer the funds to your debit card or bank account right from the app. And Google really hammered home the security message.
"Google Wallet comes with 24/7 fraud monitoring and covers 100 percent of all verified authorized transactions," Google said in the app description. "If your Wallet Card is ever lost or stolen, you can cancel it using the Google Wallet app . . . if you lose your phone you can revoke access to it."
Google Wallet or Apple Pay?
Will Apple fans choose the new Google Wallet over Apple Pay, which works with iPhones and the Apple Watch with an NFC antenna design, a dedicated chip called the Secure Element, and Touch ID security?
Apple Pay supports credit and debit cards from the three major payment networks, American Express, MasterCard and Visa, issued by the most popular banks including Bank of America, Capital One Bank, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo, representing 83 percent of credit card purchase volume in the U.S., according to the firm's research. Apple Pay is also accepted at over 220,000 merchant locations.
We caught up with Greg Sterling, vice president of strategy and insight for the Local Search Association, to get his thoughts on the Apple Pay versus Google Wallet question. He told us there's some general confusion about the differences between Android Pay and Google Wallet, especially given that Google Wallet has been repositioned.
"Whether Google Wallet succeeds in its new peer-payments form will be dependent on whether Google educates users and promotes Wallet," Sterling said. "And given that Android is the focus of Google's payments effort, I'm not sure that Wallet will be sufficiently exposed and promoted."