News by Andrew Kameka on Friday August 09, 2013.
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Google said last year that it wants to make Wallet a true digital replacement for physical wallets, but the company will not be a suitable place to store gift cards and loyalty cards because Google Wallet may soon end support for those functions. AndroidCentral reports that an email has been sent to some Google Wallet users notifying them that the app will no longer support NFC payments through a gift card or loyalty reward card. The full text of the email, available below, states that Google will stop enabling anything other than credit or debit card NFC-based payments beginning August 21, 2013. The company says it will work with retailers to offer a new way to redeem cards.
Google does not give a reason for the decision to switch to only debit and credit NFC payment processing. The decision to no longer use gift cards or loyalty rewards remove two features touted as major tenets of Google Wallet when the tap-to-pay app debuted in 2011. Google Wallet also discontinued prepaid cards last September.
The usefulness of Wallet is beginning to fade because of the declining features and AT&T and Verizon blocking access to the app on their phones. The nation's two largest carriers block access to Google Wallet and instead promote Isis, the mobile payment venture with T-Mobile that is expanding to more phones and markets later this year. Sprint and its MVNO subsidiaries are currently the only networks that have officially embraced Google Wallet.
Here is the full letter:
Thanks you for being a Google Wallet user. You're receiving this email because you've added gift and/or loyalty card to your Google Wallet app, and there's a change coming soon that will affect you.
On August 21, 2013, we are ending the current NFC redemption of gift and loyalty cards added to Google Wallet. If you've already redeemed your gift cards, you don't have to do anything. If you have a balance remaining and you'd like to spend it using the tap and pay functionality, you must do so by August 21st. If you still have the physical gift cards, they will continue to work even after August 21st. Please note that this does not impact NFC credit and debit card payments, and you'll still be able to tap your phone to make purchases.
We're working with retailers on other options for gift and loyalty card redemption within Google Wallet, and are excited to share them with you soon. If you have any questions, feel free to email or call us.
Sincerely, The Google Wallet Team.source: Android Central
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.