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Google Wallet vs. Google Pay: What’s the Difference?

Google is well-known for confusingly naming products. This may have been most evident in Google Wallet, as well as Google Pay. The paths to where these apps are now have been complicated. What app should you choose?

Over the years, both Google Wallet as well as Google Pay underwent some major changes. Many people have been confused by their purpose and the way they work. Let’s take a look at what each one has to offer.

The Complex History

Google Pay and Wallet logos.

Surprised to find out that Google Wallet originally came in a first version? way back in 2011. It was primarily intended to transfer money to people, and there was also a physical Google Wallet creditcard.

With the Google Wallet card, people could pay in both physical and online shops with their funds. This was long before tap-to-pay mobile payments became widely accepted. The Wallet card is a smart solution.

Tap-to-pay eventually gained sufficient traction to Google launch Android Pay in 2015. It maintained Google Wallet and Android Pay separately until 2018, when the two were combined into a single service called “Google Pay.” The Wallet card was discontinued in 2016.

In 2020, Google Pay was launched. massive overhaul with a bunch of new features. All of Google’s mobile payment services were under one umbrella… for a while. The Google Wallet brand was reintroduced in summer 2022.

That’s where things stand as of September 2022. Google Pay and Google Wallet exist as two separate products—sometimes. You’ll find out more about that later.

RELATED: Google Pay’s Massive Overhaul Wants to Replace Your Wallet and Bank

Google Wallet: What’s it all about?

Google Wallet

Google Wallet can most easily be summed up by its name—it’s a digital wallet. Credit cards, debit cards and loyalty cards can all be added to Google Wallet. You also have the option of adding gift cards or tickets for events, vaccination cards, travel passes, ticketing, etc.

Google Wallet can be used to pay for items online or in stores using tap-to-pay. The interface is simple and shows you your tickets, cards, passes, etc. Google Wallet is available only for Android. Android since the iPhone doesn’t allow non-Apple apps for tap-to-pay.

Google Wallet works with all card readers equipped with an Apple Wallet, Google Pay or The Wallet. contactless tap-to-pay icon. Online purchases can be made using the Google Pay and Google Wallet buttons found at checkout. Google Pay will be replaced by Wallet branding over time.

Google Pay: What is it?

Google Pay

Google Pay received a massive overhaul in 2020, and it’s pretty much the same experience now. The tap-to-pay functionality is still present in Google Pay, but that’s not the only thing it can do.

Google Pay offers peer-to-peer payment, shopping deals and cashback, as well as a complete banking experience that includes personal financial insights. Think of Google Pay as a mix of several services. Venmo, PayPalRetailMeNotAnd Mint.

Google Pay, unlike Google Wallet is accessible on both Android iPhone. The tap-to-pay functionality doesn’t work on the iPhone, but the other features do. It’s a feature-packed app that tries to do a lot of things. Some people might find it too complicated, and that is why Google Wallet exists.

RELATED: Google Pay: What is it and what can you do with it?

What App Do You Need?

You may not need to choose which app you use depending on your location. Google Pay and Google Wallet are only available side-by-side within the U.S. In every other country, Google Wallet entirely replaced Google Pay, and India doesn’t have Wallet at all (as of September 2022).

Google Pay can do everything Google Wallet can do, but Google Wallet can’t do everything Google Pay can do. If you’re in a country that has both, you can choose between the full experience (Pay) or just mobile payments (Wallet). There’s no reason to have both.

Google Pay is for peer-to-peer payment, deal and reward redemptions, personal finance tools, as well as individual financial services. Google Wallet, which is focused on mobile payments only, offers a more simplified experience. The choice is even simpler for iPhone users—Google Pay is the only option.

Final words: Google Wallet can be used to make mobile payments. Google Pay, however, is designed for mobile payments. More. It’s not as complicated as you might think, but Google certainly isn’t helping its case.

RELATED: Google Pay: How do you send money to someone?

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