Google Wallet app now focusing on more than just NFC payments
There are some big changes in store for Google Wallet. The few phones that are able to actually use the NFC payment option will still have that ability, but Google is expanding the usage of the app, adding some new features, and rolling it out to any Android phone running 2.3 or higher (US only).
The new options aim to make the app more useful on carriers where it has been blocked or on devices without the needed NFC hardware. The new app will be able to send money for free to anyone in the US with an email address, just like we've seen from Gmail. In addition, for a small fee money can be transferred by debit or credit card.
Users will also be able to directly scan in loyalty cards and use them while shopping at brick and mortar stores. This extends to all devices that can run the app, and not just those with a secure NFC option as in the past. You'll also be able to join new programs like Alaska Airlines, Belly, and Red Mango within the Google Wallet app, Other companies are listed as "coming soon", such as Avis and Marriot.
The app is rolling out in the next few weeks, so this is something to be on the lookout for. Of course, for those not afraid to try a dodgy apk file, those will be posted online shortly we imagine.