Google Wallet's PIN requirement for tap-to-pay on Wear OS is just a bug

Use Google Wallet on Fitbit Sense 2
(Image credit: Android Central)

Update (April 24, 8:55 pm ET): Google says the PIN requirement for using Google Wallet on Wear OS for tap-to-pay is actually just a glitch.

What you need to know

  • Google Wallet might start asking for a PIN on Wear OS watches, potentially making payments less convenient.
  • Some Reddit users report having to input a PIN for every payment attempt on their Wear OS watches.
  • The PIN prompt seems limited to a few users, suggesting it could be a test, a glitch, or a gradual rollout by Google.

Paying with your Wear OS watch with Google Wallet might get annoying soon, as the app might start asking for a PIN before you can use the speedy payment feature.

Google Wallet taps into your Android phone and NFC to make payments super easy. It even jumped onto your beloved Wear OS watches, so you could pay straight from your wrist. But here comes a security update that might make paying with Wear OS a tad more irritating.

Some users on Reddit are reporting about Google Wallet making them enter a PIN every single time they try to pay with their watch (via 9to5Google). This is different from before, where just a tap did the trick. Unless your device figures out it's far enough from your body, it's not going to bug you for a PIN.

Wear OS smartwatches already make you set up a PIN for Google Wallet security, so this new pop-up for every tap seems like a bit much, especially on those tiny screens.

Since it seems like only a few users are getting hit with this new prompt, there are a couple of things that might be going down, as noted by 9to5. Maybe Google is testing out this feature on a select few watches. Or, it could be a glitch in the app. Or, Google might be slowly introducing the PIN requirement to everyone, one watch at a time.

Google recently made phone users re-verify their Wallet information after a few minutes. So, it's possible the company is doing something similar for Wear OS, which definitely removes the convenience you get with those speedy wrist taps.

However, the updated Google Wallet support page doesn't even mention smartwatches, hinting that this new authentication requirement might not be on purpose.

Anyway, it's important to remember that this could be a security improvement Google is testing (even if it is a bit annoying), assuming this new feature is indeed heading to smartwatches.


Google told Android Central via email that it is working on fixing the problem with Google Wallet's tap-to-pay feature on Wear OS, where it keeps asking users to enter a PIN for each transaction.

"We are aware of an issue that requires a small number of Wallet users to re-enter their PIN in order to make a payment from their Wear OS device, and we are working to address the issue," a Google spokesperson said. "There is no new authentication requirement for Wear OS users."

The company also clarified that this issue isn't connected to the recent changes it made, which now require Wallet users on Android phones to authenticate their device before making a payment through Google Wallet.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.