Slideshow 6 Ways Google Payments Have Evolved

Published
  • October 04 2016, 10:15am EDT
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Google is placing more emphasis on hardware and voice-controlled assistance, and its payment technology is coming along for the ride. Here's a look at Google's history in mobile payments—what worked, and what got cut over time.

Wallet 1.0

Google Wallet, as it was first unveiled, had a lot of moving pieces. Though it was announced alongside Google Offers, both functioned as separate apps, allowing each to adapt to the market's needs.

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Wallet Reimagined

Google failed to get any banks — other than its launch partner, Citi — to go through the hoops required to place their cards in Google Wallet. It also faced resistance from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, which objected to Google's use of the handset's secure element. Google solved both of these problems by switching to Host Card Emulation, a software-based approach to mobile payments.

Building a Bridge

Google added a plastic card in 2013 as a way to enable consumers to use Google Wallet at stores that don't accept contactless mobile payments. It discontinued the card this year.

Softcard Falls on Hard Times

The telcos that resisted Google Wallet's first incarnation put forth their own mobile wallet — originally called Isis, then wisely renamed to Softcard — but their project didn't last. Google then bought the assets of Softcard and, in the process, entered a deal to put its own mobile wallet on those telcos' handsets.

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Android Pay

Google launched Android Pay in 2015 as a streamlined replacement for Google Wallet. It removed P-to-P capabilities and placed those in a stripped-down Google Wallet app, leaving Android Pay to handle in-store and in-app payments.

Excess Baggage

Android Pay users could still pay with unsupported cards originally enrolled in Google Wallet, but that wasn't meant to be a long-term solution. After Google signed up more bank partners, it announced plans to discontinue support for cards enrolled under the old method.