Fintech

Google's payments strategy is taking another twist as it battles Apple

The smartphone giants are trying to lock in mobile users with a digitized version of the physical wallet for drivers’ licenses, tickets and credit cards.

Google Wallet

The new Google Wallet will handle all credit and payment cards as well as nonpayment items you would have in your physical wallet, such as driver’s licenses or state IDs.

Image: Google

Google is launching a new Google Wallet app on Android and Wear OS, looking to streamline its payments products and lock users into Android more tightly.

The move is part of a broader effort by tech giants Google and Apple to bind consumers more closely into their mobile devices by making the digital wallet as essential to consumers’ everyday lives as the physical wallet.

That means making the digital wallet not just a way to pay at the point of sale with a credit card but also use tickets, IDs and other essential items.

The new Google Wallet, announced Wednesday at Google I/O and available sometime in early summer, will handle all credit and payment cards as well as nonpayment items you would have in your physical wallet, such as driver’s licenses or state IDs, library cards, concert tickets, boarding passes, vaccine cards and loyalty cards. Google is also working on supporting other pass types, like hotel keys and office badges.

Google already has the Google Pay app, but that will be changing. In 39 of the 42 markets where Google Pay stores payments cards and tickets and offers tap-to-pay functionality, Google Pay will become Google Wallet. These countries include Australia, Brazil, France, Canada, Germany, the U.K. and Taiwan.

In the U.S. and Singapore, where Google Pay is a payments app that people can use for paying friends, finding deals and managing their money, Google is launching a separate Google Wallet app. In India, where Google Pay supports the popular UPI payments system, people will keep the same Google Pay app.

“Wallet is a container for all your payments and nonpayment use cases. And I think that's a really important distinction because many of the wallet use cases used to be in Google Pay—now we're pulling them out into Google Wallet,” said Arnold Goldberg, VP and general manager of Payments and NBU at Google.

Creating a separate Google Wallet app could bring more clarity for developers and for consumers with the analogy of a physical wallet.

Google Pay and Google’s payment products generally have gone through a number of iterations. Google Pay consolidated other payment services, including one called Android Pay, and a prior version of Google Wallet launched in 2011. Google Pay was most recently set to become the anchor of a consumer banking product with checking and debit accounts through partner banks such as Citigroup, but Google dropped that plan last year.

Google Pay will now be for peer-to-peer payments, deals and managing your money, Goldberg said.

Google Wallet will be available for developers who want to build on it, for things like barcodes or QR codes used for items such as library cards or event tickets. Google is working directly with states and local governments to do more complex integrations such as driver’s licenses.

Google is also working on ways that the Wallet can be tied into other Google services. For example, if a transit card is added to the Wallet, the card and its balance will show up in Google Maps when searching for directions. And users can then tap to add to the balance. This integration will be live with more than 100 transit agencies at launch, Google said.

Granular privacy controls will ensure that users can keep information such as vaccine cards private across other Google services, Goldberg said.

Apple, for its part, has already pushed deeply into building a digital version of the physical wallet. It has added the ability for consumers to add a digital driver’s license in Arizona, which the TSA will accept at certain security checkpoints. Apple is working on adding more states soon.

Regulators have taken an interest in how mobile wallets are used by tech giants. The European Commission said last week that Apple is violating its antitrust rules by limiting competitors’ mobile wallets.

Google is also announcing Wednesday a new virtual card feature for Chrome. Chrome can already store consumers’ credit cards to autofill them for payments. With the new feature, users can create a virtual card, which disguises the actual card number to increase security. The virtual card will also auto-generate a CVV code, so users will not have to pull out a physical card to enter it. This will be available this summer in the U.S. for Visa, American Express and Capital One cards with Mastercard coming later this year.

It’s not exactly new: Citi introduced a similar service for virtual cards called Virtual Account Numbers in 2002 — that’s not a typo — and Apple Pay uses a similar tokenization technique to disguise credit card numbers. But Google is focusing on the browser and has the advantage of a large installed base of Chrome users. The service is launching in the U.S. first, and only on Chrome desktop and Android, not on Chrome on Apple iOS devices.
Enterprise

Why chip companies need the college students dazzled by software jobs

New chip fabricating plants will need tens of thousands of skilled workers who don’t currently exist. Training them means persuading students to look away from jobs at big tech companies.

Intel employees in clean room "bunny suits" work at Intel's D1X factory in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Photo: Intel Corporation

Every morning, Isaiah Morris drives his white Nissan Altima eight miles down Arizona state Route 101 to a sprawling, low-level office park in South Tempe. Inside one of the unassuming buildings adjacent to GoDaddy’s headquarters and a couple of Amazon offices, the Arizona State University student dons a lab coat, safety shoes and prescription goggles as he helps engineer chemicals for a chip manufacturing process called planarization.

Morris is an unusual 21-year-old. When they graduate college, many of his tech-minded peers will opt to work for the likes of Apple, Google and other household names that have enjoyed meteoric growth over the last decade. Jobs at those tech companies symbolize prestige for graduates and their parents in a way that careers with chipmakers like Intel do not.

Keep Reading Show less
Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email: akramer@protocol.com), where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

Businesses are evolving, with current events and competition serving as the catalysts for technology adoption. Events from the pandemic to the ongoing war in Ukraine have exposed the fragility of global supply chains. The topic of sustainability is now on every board room agenda. Industries from manufacturing to retail and everything in between are exploring the latest innovations like process automation, machine learning and AI to identify potential safeguards against future disruption. But according to a recent survey from Boston Consulting Group, while 80% of companies are adopting digital solutions to navigate existing business challenges or opportunities like the ones mentioned, only about 30% successfully digitally transform their business.

For the last 50 years, SAP has worked closely with our customers to solve some of the world’s most intricate problems. We have also seen, and have been a part of, rapid accelerations in technology in response. Across industries, certain paths have emerged to help businesses manage the unexpected challenges over the last few years.

Keep Reading Show less
DJ Paoni

DJ Paoni is the President of SAP North America and is responsible for the strategy, day-to-day operations, and overall customer success in the United States and Canada. Dedicated to helping customers become best-run businesses, DJ has established himself as a trusted advisor who places a high priority on their success. He works with many of SAP North America's 155,000 customers and helps them adopt business and technology best practices across 25 different industries.

Policy

A new UK visa could steal your top tech talent

Without meaningful immigration reform, U.S.-trained foreign graduates could head across the pond.

The U.S. immigration system turns away hundreds of thousands of highly skilled tech workers every year.

Photo: Ben Fathers/AFP via Getty Images

Almost as soon as he took office, President Biden began the work of undoing a lot of the damage the Trump administration did to the U.S. H-1B visa program. He allowed a Trump-era ban on entry by H-1B holders to expire and withdrew a Trump proposal to prohibit H-1B visa holders’ spouses from working in the U.S. More recently, his administration has expanded the number of degrees considered eligible for special STEM OPT visas.

But the U.S. immigration system still turns away hundreds of thousands of highly skilled — and in many cases U.S.-educated — tech workers every year. Now the U.K. is trying to capitalize on the United States’ failure to reform its policy regarding high-skilled immigrants with a new visa that could poach American-trained tech talent across the pond. And there’s good reason to believe it could work.

Keep Reading Show less
Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
Kwasi (kway-see) is a fellow at Protocol with an interest in tech policy and climate. Previously, he covered global religion news at the Associated Press in New York. Before that, he was a freelance journalist based out of Accra, Ghana, covering social justice, health, and environment stories. His reporting has been published in The New York Times, Quartz, CNN, The Guardian, and Public Radio International. He can be reached at kasiedu@protocol.com.
Fintech

A new regulator is stepping into the 'rent-a-bank' ring

The CFPB is promising a "close look" at controversial lending partnerships between banks and fintechs.

Rent-a-bank lending for personal loans is getting regulatory attention.

Photo: Attentie Attentie/Unsplash

Consumer groups pushing for banking regulators to crack down on so-called rent-a-bank lending for personal loans may have found a willing watchdog.

Zixta Martinez, deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said at a recent consumer group conference that the agency is taking a "close look" at the lending partnerships between banks and nonbanks, which are often fintech companies.

Keep Reading Show less
Ryan Deffenbaugh
Ryan Deffenbaugh is a reporter at Protocol focused on fintech. Before joining Protocol, he reported on New York's technology industry for Crain's New York Business. He is based in New York and can be reached at rdeffenbaugh@protocol.com.
Enterprise

Why Thomas Kurian thinks cloud computing is on the brink of a new era

Kurian tapped his enterprise experience from 22 years at Oracle to reshape Google Cloud as an open, hybrid and multicloud player. What comes next?

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian spoke with Protocol.

Photo courtesy of Google/Weinberg-Clark Photography

When Thomas Kurian landed the CEO role at Google Cloud, he was welcomed as a respected technologist and executive bringing 22 years of needed enterprise chops from Oracle for a substantial undertaking: turning an underdog into a heavyweight contender for meeting major corporations’ cloud needs.

At the Google Cloud Next conference in early 2019, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Kurian, then about three months into his tenure, as a “tremendous leader with a powerful vision” who already had met with hundreds of customers and partners and whose “personal productivity is testing the limits of G Suite and Calendar.”

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Latest Stories
Bulletins