Google Wallet Now Available in India But it’s Useless

In Short
  • Google Wallet is now available in the subcontinent but don't get your hopes up just yet.
  • The app is built to coexist with Google Pay and will not have the ability to make payments.
  • Google Pay will remain the default payments app in India, while Wallet will just be a digital vault.

Google is known for making confusing product decisions that leave users thinking about its future or what happens next. The year 2024 has been filled with such decisions. Adding to that list is the launch of Google Wallet in India, which apparently isn’t similar to the international version. Here’s what’s different.

We’ve been hearing rumors since February about the Google Wallet’s releasing in India, and that day is finally here. According to Google, the Wallet and Google Pay app will co-exist in India. The Wallet app will be for storing things like transit, gift, and loyalty cards, and no tap to pay. Google Pay will be for making payments, which is quite silly.

Google Wallet in India is Merely a Digital Vault

One of the reasons I was excited about Google Wallet’s India launch is because it would bring the ability to make contactless payments not just through my phone but from a Wear OS device. Don’t get me wrong. Wallet could be great for adding passes and different digital assets, but it digresses from being a payment platform. Having two different “wallet” apps makes it incredibly confusing.

Google Pay will be the default payment platform in India. It’s a little disconcerting, especially when Google recently shut down Google Pay for the Google Wallet app in the US. I find it incredibly confusing that Google left out Wallet app support for Wear OS in India, considering it sells the Pixel Watch 2 in the subcontinent.

One of the reasons we think Google doesn’t want people to use Google Wallet for payments has to do with the user base and market share of Google Pay in India, which is a whopping 35% and 37.5% in P2P and P2M transactions.

Google probably didn’t want people moving to Wallet or create further confusion that would make people think Google Pay is going away. Approval from RBI might also be the reason Google launched Wallet as a digital vault. Either way, Google should’ve at least added tap-to-pay functionality to Wear OS devices, as it was one of the most awaited features.

Google Wallet partners
Image Courtesy: Ishan Agarwal on X

Google Wallet is rolling out to Android devices in India and you can download it from the Google Play Store. Future Pixel devices launching in the country could come preinstalled with the app. Users can also add a Wallet shortcut on their lock screens, but the Quick Settings Wallet widget still won’t work. Similarly, Google has partnered with a few firms like PVR, Air India, MakeMyTrip, BMW, Pine Labs, Hyderabad Metro, Domino’s, and more for loyalty programs, travel cards, and gift cards.

What are your thoughts on the Google Wallet launch in India? Are you excited or disappointed? Let us know in the comments below.

comment Comments 1
  • shashank says:

    atleast finally we have a digital wallet solution for these kind of things.. so i’m kind of happy

Leave a Reply