Google Wallet tap and pay support ending for phones not running KitKat in April

Feature to be removed from device not running Android 4.4 or higher on April 14, 2014

Google Wallet's tap and pay feature is soon to become a KitKat only affair. According to a message sent out to users with the feature enabled, but running a lower version of Android, the new, different technology used means older versions will not be able to support it, and support for the old method is being dropped.

We wanted to let you know about an update to Google Wallet that might change the way you use the app. Right now it looks like you’re using tap and pay with a device running an Android version older than 4.4 KitKat. On the newest version of Android, tap and pay works with different technology for an improved experience. As a result, starting on A​p​r​i​l 1​4, 2​0​1​4, tap and pay will no longer work for devices with older Android versions.Tap and pay will be available for most devices running Android 4.4 KitKat. If you are able to upgrade to KitKat now, you can check if your device supports tap and pay. Supported devices will display a tile in your "My Wallet" screen that tells you to set up tap and pay. For devices that are not eligible for Android 4.4 KitKat or don’t support tap and pay, you can still use the Google Wallet app to store all of your loyalty cards and offers, send money to your friends, view your orders, and use the Google Wallet Card to make purchases.We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for continuing to be a loyal Wallet user.If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center. Sincerely, The Google Wallet Team

With KitKat, Google changed from using a secure element — a combination of hardware and firmware in your phone to keep tap and pay payments secure — to a host-based card emulation system. This allows the Wallet app and the CPU on your phone or tablet to provide security through software instead of using a hardware component. HCE services are methods that only KitKat can support, and the old secure element method is no longer supported, so the feature is now KitKat (or higher) only.

We know that few people actually use Google Wallet's tap and pay feature, but chances are this will affect more than a few of us. We're the early adopters who enjoy features like tap and pay. Hopefully, the last few current flagships still on JellyBean (Hi LG! Hi Sony!) will get updated soon.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.