Google's commerce blog was updated with a new post a little bit ago, but it was pulled down almost immediately. Luckily, we got a peek before that happened. Google is preparing to announce two new features of Google Wallet—automatic deposits and low balance alerts. They are both in the updated Wallet app.
In addition to being the alleged pre-order date for the Nexus 6, this is still an update Wednesday. Google Wallet is getting a big update too. It's jumping all the way from v2 to v7 with a full material design interface. It looks really nice, very #materiyolo.
So far, it seems to be just the UI that has been changed. It has all the animations and icons you'd expect from a proper material app.
Believe it or not, a lot of Android fans were happy to see Apple announce its new Apple Pay system with the iPhone 6. Thanks to its reliance on NFC technology (welcome to 2011, Cupertino!) and Apple's famous marketing muscle, it meant that NFC payments might finally start taking off, particularly in the US. The same NFC-equipped registers that work with Apple Pay generally work with Google Wallet as well.
Then popular drugstores CVS and Rite-Aid started blocking Apple Pay, which apparently means blocking all NFC payments, including Google Wallet.
While developers from a startling number of countries can post apps to the Google Play Store for users around the world to download, setting up the infrastructure for these developers to sell paid apps - and more importantly, to get paid for their apps - isn't quite so widespread. Today Google is opening up Google Wallet Merchant registration to eight more countries, allowing developers in those countries to get paid in their local currency.
Google has updated its support pages and started sending out emails to alert users of Google Wallet to an upcoming change in the way NFC payments work. As of April 14th, tap and pay will require KitKat or higher. Older devices will no longer be supported after that date.
The reason for the change is Google's desire to only use Host Card Emulation (HCE) to make NFC payments work. That feature was introduced in Android 4.4, so it's the end of the line for Jelly Bean and earlier devices.
A new update to the Google Wallet app is rolling out today to all Android devices running v4.0 or higher. It's not just a maintenance update this time – Google has added a new feature called Orders. Can you guess what it does? Yes, it tracks online orders, but it tracks virtually all your orders, not just those made with Wallet.
As Android 4.4/KitKat updates begin rolling out to devices on all the major US carriers, one frequently asked question has to do with whether or not these devices will include Android's new "Tap and Pay" feature. This was one of the major additions in KitKat and allows almost any device with an NFC chip to be used for "tap and go" mobile payments, even if said chip doesn't have a built-in secure element.
Heads up, Google Wallet fans: better support for loyalty cards is coming to a Play Store update near you. According to a Google+ update from the Wallet team earlier today, the app will soon be able to auto-populate information when scanning in loyalty cards, presumably including the name and merchant. The update should be coming later this week, at least for the first batch of users. There are also some user interface changes, including a modified slide-out menu.
The new update to Google Wallet makes a big change to the app's functionality – it now supports Tap & Pay on all KitKat devices with NFC. Previously, only the Wallet app from the Nexus 5 enabled this feature, but now it's rolling out to everyone.
Devices like the Moto X (only the updated versions) and Nexus 7 now support this functionality with the stock software, but even devices running AOSP-based Android 4.4 ROMs can make use of Tap & Pay.
Remember how the physical Google Wallet card showed up in some APK teardowns only to be removed without a word from Google? Well, it's back and you can place an order for it right now. Google says the card should be delivered to interested parties in 10-12 days.
The Wallet card will let you pay for items at any retailer, even those that don't have the little NFC kiosks Wallet has thus far relied upon.