Google Wallet could be launching in India soon

Google Wallet

Google Wallet could be making its way to India, a Play Store listing briefly suggested. The e-wallet had mysteriously started working on Indian smartphones a few days ago.

Google launching its NFC-based Wallet in India?

Google Wallet is one of Google’s several platforms that offer on-device payments. The company operates quite a few variants such as Google Pay in multiple countries.

According to TechCrunch, Google is expected to officially launch Google Wallet in India shortly. Google Wallet is already a popular choice in on-device payment apps for US customers.

Google Wallet needs an NFC (Near Field Communication) chip to function properly. The app allows users to add multiple credit, debit, and loyalty cards. Using Google Wallet, users can opt for “tap to pay” at payment terminals or POS (Point of Sale) machines using their smartphones.

In addition to NFC payment cards, Google Wallet can also add passes. Simply put, most of the cards that have an NFC chip, can be assimilated within Google Wallet.

Google Wallet launched in 2022. However, Google restricted the app’s availability. The Indian version of the Google Play Store has a dedicated listing. But, it does not have an install button yet.

The Indian version of Google Wallet briefly spotted on the Play Store

GPay or Google Pay is another Google e-wallet. However, this app largely depends on the UPI (Unified Payment Interface) backend. In other words, nearly all smartphones, even those without NFC, support GPay.

Google has reportedly indicated it would continue to operate GPay as a standalone app in India. The company had previously stated that GPay would continue to remain operational in India and Singapore to address the “unique needs in those countries”.

The same cannot be said in other regions where Google either shuttered GPay or merged it with Google Wallet. Google has recently indicated it would shut down GPay in the US.

According to 9to5Google, Google Wallet’s listing briefly carried banners and images of Indian brands such as SBI (State Bank of India), Air India, and PVR INOX (a multiplex chain). However, these images are now gone, and they have been replaced by generic placeholders.

While these now-deleted images might not be a reliable indicator, Google Wallet suddenly became operational in India for a few Android smartphone users.

After some smartphone enthusiasts sideloaded the Google Wallet app, it worked with the cards they loaded into the app. Loyalty programs still don’t work, but that’s an entirely different ballgame. Google Wallet recently started asking users to authenticate all payments, irrespective of the monetary value. It is not clear if the same security measure would be applicable in India.