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Google Wallet arrives in India with local integrations, but Pay stays.

Google Wallet will eventually open in India, some two years after its relaunch as a digital wallet platform in the United States, according to an app preview that the firm unintentionally uploaded to the country’s Google Play store.

After Eltrys discovered the app’s listing, which would allow users to load loyalty cards and purchase items, among other capabilities, the business refused to confirm that it would be available soon to Android users. However, it seemed to remove other data from the listing, such as what appear to be high-profile launch partners based in India. (The app now more generally displays United States brands.)

However, Google did confirm to us that Google Pay would remain available in the country as a standalone app, at least for the time being. This differs from Google’s strategy in most other markets, where they have integrated the Wallet and Pay experiences into a single Wallet app.

“While we don’t have anything new to report right now, we are always trying to improve the ease of people’s digital experiences in India.” We’re continuing to invest in the Google Pay app to provide people with easy and secure access to digital payments,” a Google representative told Eltrys.

We believe that part of the rationale seems to be because Google Pay is already popular in the nation—it’s widely acknowledged that India is Google’s biggest payment market worldwide, and it’s the second-largest payment app after PhonePe.

Last but not least, we expect the Indian version of Google Wallet to differ from the US version, given Google’s announcement that it will continue to offer Google Pay as a payment service in India. For starters, Google intends to create local integrations on the Wallet app in the nation, which has the largest Android user base.

Eltrys discovered the Google Wallet listing last week, which featured images of Indian airline Air India, state-owned bank State Bank of India, and cinema chain PVR Inox, suggesting the possibility of obtaining and redeeming loyalty points through these companies. (Google updated the listing with US brands shortly after Eltrys requested feedback.)

The current Google Wallet software is not yet available for download from the Play Store in India, but it has been operating for certain Android users there for some time, according to the Indian publication Beebom. However, the functionality is restricted. Users may add credit and debit cards to make contactless payments; however, the app does not support any Indian companies or local loyalty schemes.

These recent modifications are the culmination of Google’s extensive hopping between several financial services and distinct branded applications. In 2011, the company introduced Google Wallet as its payment option. Then Google introduced Android Pay. Then it attempted to replace Wallet and the Android Pay software with Google Pay. In 2022, Google reintroduced the Wallet app as a digital wallet platform for Android, Wear OS, and Fitbit. However, in February of this year, the search giant revealed that it would replace Google Pay with the Wallet app in the United States.

Unlike its American counterpart, Google Pay in India utilizes the Indian government-backed infrastructure of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to facilitate payments. This is one of the reasons Google Pay is different in India, and it may continue to provide a distinct alternative to those who are currently using it.

Google Pay is India’s second-most popular UPI app after only Walmart’s PhonePe, giving Google a clear motive to continue to support it while providing digital wallet-related experiences via the Wallet app. According to figures issued by the UPI parent company, National Payments Corporation of India, the Google Pay app triggered more than 5 billion transactions totaling more than $83 billion in March.

Juliet P.
Author: Juliet P.

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