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.

  • And just when I got my EVO 4G LTE update to 4.3... :@
  • I was going to leave my GS3 on 4.3, but now I guess I'll have to deal with extsdcard issues just to use Google Wallet. Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, with 32GBs of internal memory and no sdcard. (Bring on 4.4.2, I can handle it.)
  • Eh the SD card issue ain't so bad. There's way you can work around it. Posted via Android Central App
  • So can I just ignore the update on my Galaxy Nexus and it still work or is there something on Google's backend system that gets upgraded as well and requires this app update to continue to work?
  • If you're not on 4.4 by April, you're screwed.
    That's what Google is saying. Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, with 32GBs of internal memory and no sdcard. (Bring on 4.4.2, I can handle it.)
  • exactly wtf. Sprint wont and still won't update my galaxy nexus to even 4.3 Way to leave us in the dark Google
  • It's a Galaxy Nexus, just unlock it and install CyanogenMod or something. I did it on mine when Verizon was taking forever to approve the 4.1 update, and I've never looked back. 4.4 practically made it feel like a brand-new phone.
  • Sprint has nothing to do with it. -------------------------------------------
    You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you
  • I have a Galaxy Nexus on Sprint and it's had 4.3 since at least November. I switched to a Nexus 5 in mid-November so I'll be OK on this one, thankfully.
  • And in doing so they let the ridiculous carrier tap and pays win. Sigh. Posted via Android Central App
  • Can you call it a "win", if nobody uses your alternative product, despite your anti-competitive maneuvers?
  • That's ridiculous! There's no reason the secure element method had to be discontinued. Granted, NFC payments weren't perfect using that method, but this seems more like a way to get manufacturers to roll out KitKat a little quicker. Hopefully my Galaxy SIII can receive a KitKat update before 4/14, or I'll be upset, as I use NFC payments quite often.
  • CM 11
  • Exactly. CyanogenMod is always an excellent option if you can't get an official update. Sent via my Verizon Moto X
  • The small fraction (and I mean miniscule) of Android users and actually use both GW and it's tap and pay feature makes it extremely unlikely that Google would attempt to use THIS as the lever to push Kit Kat updates/upgrades. The argument makes no logical sense.
  • My thought exactly. I like tap-to-pay, and I use it pretty frequently, but GW is neither a carrot nor a stick for carriers or OEMs.
  • Good way to pretty much kill the service.
  • Nah, it's mostly used for web payments and such. People can still get a card, which is what I mostly use anyway. It's cumbersome (and good that it is) to use in the store. I think it'll be fine.
  • Swiping a card is cumbersome? #firstworldproblems Sent via my Verizon Moto X
  • I think he meant the tap to pay was cumbersome. Which it is. It's very neat and a good option if you forgot your wallet, but a card is easier to use.
  • Maybe but not always, at least for me. I usually have my phone out when in line looking at something. I usually do not pull my wallet out till I get up to the register so my phone is usually easier.
    Sent from my bada$$ Nexus 5
  • How is it cumbersome? You tap, put pin and pay. All without swiping a credit card. Most people always have their phones with them, not everyone carries a wallet. The other day after playing basketball I didn't have my wallet but I had my phone. Plus what I do is open Google wallet on the phone before I get in store. Then all I do is tap and its done without inputting your pin in the store.
    Don't know what's so cumbersome about that. Posted via Android Central App
  • More excuses for Verizon not to update the software to Kit Kat.... SOB's Posted via Android Central App
  • Verizon is updating phones to Kit Kat. This Droid Ultra I'm using and the Moto X. I use GW often. Posted via Android Central App
  • GW is pretty much my secondary bank account. Sent via my Verizon Moto X
  • Stupid Verizon comments are stupid.
  • Remove the word "comments" and changre "are" to "is", and you've got it right.
  • My Verizon note 3 doesn't allow payment anyway right now so I'm wondering if this change will allow it to bypass the carrier restrictions. The note 3 should be on 4.4 soon anyway Posted via Android Central App
  • The Note 3 won't support it. It has nothing to do with the carrier. The NFC chip in the Note 3 doesn't support HCE.
  • Cm11 stable.. Where are you?? Nexus 4 - CM10.1.3
  • Be brave - the nightlies were great on the s3 when I was rocking them.
  • Too bad they haven't updated for a month now :(
  • The milestones have been more than stable enough to be a daily driver, at least on my GNex.
  • Nightlies for Nexus devices are almost always pretty stable and suitable for daily driver use. That's not the case with a lot of other devices, though.
  • I'd say oh well, nobody uses it - because it is shticky. BUT. It's definitely saved my ass when my gas light was on and I'd forgotten my wallet. Once. Still, I'd've been sunk without it. Luckily I'm rocking an N5 so no worries on my end.
  • End? It hasn't been available on my note 3 even with kit kat Posted via Android Central App
  • And it's Google's fault that Samsung's software and hardware decisions kill GW I suppose?
  • Google has to update wallet to support the new nfc chips installed in the Galaxy Note 3.
  • You mean the hardware that Samsung installed knowing that it wasn't supported? If I buy hardware that I know my operating system doesn't support then that is my fault, not the operating system's.
  • No one was saying it's anyone's fault, he just stated it didn't work. Quit starting an argument. End. Posted via Android Central App
  • I use Wallet for tap and pay all the time on my N5. Only failed to work once and it was probably a network issue. People don't even bat an eye anymore.
  • The two times I tried it, it never worked. Kind of put me off the whole thing. Just awkward holding up the line, messing with my phone only to end up having to pull out my wallet.
  • Do a little research then. When it works its awesome. Once it's set up if it fails it's either user error or the unit your using. I use it at all cvs, all mcdonalds, all pollo tropical and all home depots 100% of the time. I hate how when someone can't figure it out they say it doesn't work with anyone. Posted via Android Central App
  • Did I say it doesn't work for everyone? I was referring to MY experience. I know how it's supposed to work. I was eager to try it out. It just didn't work the times I tried to use it. Most likely it was the terminal I was trying to use that was the problem. And a clueless clerk didn't really help matters. It's not that big a deal. I'm glad it works for you 100% of the time everywhere you go.
  • Where in the hell in his comment did he say "it doesn't work with anyone" or anything of the sort?! Learn to read... Posted via Android Central App
  • They better get that 4.4.2 update out for my Note 2 pronto.
  • Yep. The Note 2 is still very much used by many, including me. I still use mine with a tweaked apk on my rooted phone. I use it all the time and love it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Holy cow you rock! That's just super duper! Posted via Android Central App
  • I think this was necessary Posted via Android Central App
  • Only because the carriers are trying to shove ISIS down our throats.
  • I use it all the time ever since I got a galaxy nexus and side loaded it. If I hadn't switched to t mobile from Verizon I'd still have the galaxy nexus and I'd lose a really cool feature. Posted via Android Central App
  • And then carriers are disabling the tap to pay on there kit kat phones so try can use isis. Posted via Android Central App
  • They are not able to block it on KitKat phones. I had a KitKat rom on my Note 2 and was able to use it perfectly. Only reason I don't use it anymore cause I use spen and touchwiz features too much. Hopefully the Note 2 gets updated soon. Posted via Android Central App
  • Verizon can and is, software can be altered -------------------------------------------
    You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you
  • The carrier versions of the update are often changed to suit carrier demands (many of which we never hear about), or are edited by the carriers themselves, so yes, they could be blocking Google Wallet's tap and pay feature through "creative editing" of the carrier specific version of Kit Kat.
  • Yep. LG G2 has tap to pay ripped out on T-Mobile. Posted via Android Central App
  • So does this mean the T-Mobile Note 3 will be able to use tap & pay? It's running KK
  • Nope. Sorry. Until Isis realizes it a failed venture, T-Mobile will continue to support. it.
  • Since January I've run $2750 through ISIS between 2 phones, and in the process made $300+ on each phone. $50 Just for signing up $200 for spending $1000 (I bought gift cards for gas and groceries) and $50 for 2 direct deposits. Plus are now giving you $1 back for every transaction of $1 or more, up to $50 a month til June. I've used wallet as well, albeit for far less money, but it was kind of hackey in comparison. I just want one of them to catch on enough so that major retailers upgrade their credit card terminals. If I'd have been able to use it at target, I wouldn't have had to have my credit card replaced. Since it is more secure to touch than swipe.
  • Yes. T mobile cannot stop the tap and pay on KitKat since it does not need a secure element any longer. I use it on my moto x on ATT all the time.
    Sent from my bada$$ Nexus 5
  • Sorry carriers can and have been disabling the tap to pay on the kit kat update. Carriers prefer isis over Gw. Posted via Android Central App
  • If they continue to block the software, even though it doesn't utilize the secure element, they can easily be shown to be engaging in anti-competitive (monopolistic) behavior. It really depends on someone having the will and the legal/financial standing to challenge it.
  • Interesting. It is not like they have so much GW business that they must limit it...glad my moto x and nexus 5 will still Work since I use it weekly. I use the Google wallet card quite a bit to at places Sent from my bada$$ Nexus 5
  • I suspectit's more a matter of not wanting to have to support two separate methods. especially since so few devices supported the old system and most of those have been updated to 4.4.
  • I hate how the wallet card doesn't just pull directly from your bank account like tap and pay. I was totally expecting it to be the same. It's kind of a pain to transfer money from my account to the Google wallet balance. Posted via Android Central App
  • I guess it is a safety feature. It takes second to transfer from bank account to wallet balance though. I have been using it more and more in place of my debit card.
  • Yes. Whether intentional or not, it's better this way because direct debits from bank accounts don't offer the same fraud protection as credit accounts.
  • I have a AT&T LG G2 on 4.4.2 and GW tap to pay is not available. Are they going to update it so I can? I have been using Isis, it not bad works better than my GNex GW. Posted via Android Central App
  • You're doing exactly what AT&T wants. Either they crippled your G2 so that GW wouldn't work, or you're running an old version of GW that doesn't support the Host Card Emulation (HCE) method of encryption.
  • My GW is up to date and I have an non Isis Sim. Posted via Android Central App
  • AT&T did something to your G2 to prevent GW tap to pay from working. If you're running Kit-Kat and have the latest version of GW then tap to pay should work, regardless of the SIM, because Kit-Kat and the new version of GW don't use the hardware secure element for encryption (neither phone-based nor SIM-based). This kind of meddling is why I refuse to buy a phone from a carrier. They remove and/or block features and options that should be available. People shouldn't have to flash a custom ROM or jailbrake/root their device to make it possible to use a freely-available service.
  • +1
  • Then how have you been using ISIS?
  • Att cannot disable the new kit kat tap and pay other than you have a secure SIM for ISIS maybe? You should look into it more. I would never use ISIS just on the principle that the carriers removed my choice to use Google Wallet for all those years. Finally started using it with my Nexus 4 years ago and have always has a nexus to use it on with ATT and now use my ATT Moto X without issue.
  • Motorola was a Google company. No way they would send an update to the carrier with Google Wallet disabled. Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, with 32GBs of internal memory and no sdcard. (Bring on 4.4.2, I can handle it.)
  • Come on, they cannot block it? It is software and software can be altered -------------------------------------------
    You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you
  • Tap to pay has been removed from kitkat altogether by AT&T and T-Mobile for sure. Stock LG G2 doesn't have it. Cm11 does. Carriers removing stuff ticks me off. They would remove iMessage from ios if Apple let them. The ball is in google's court on this. Now that Android dominates marketshare Google should stop oem/carrier meddling. Posted via Android Central App
  • They are not updating anytime soon. Something on that phone is not the same as other KitKat updates. My friend with Moto x and lg g2 has it working on Moto x but not his g2. I think their trying to find out if it's T-Mobile blocking or lg on behalf of T-Mobile Posted via Android Central App
  • OMG I have a Huawei 610 Posted via Android Central App
  • OMG I have a Nexus 4!!
  • OMG I have a note 3 -------------------------------------------
    You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you
  • I love tap and pay. I love Kit Kat. I love Google. I love period. Love Love Love
  • There's a gross sexual joke in here somewhere...I just know it!
  • I really want to know if Verizon will support tap to pay now that we have Kit Kat Posted via Android Central App
  • Verizon is pushing ISIS, and their actions in doing so are what spurred these changes in Google Wallet in the first place.
  • I have KK on my S4
    Buahahaha Oh wait we don't have Google Wallet in Canada Posted from my SGH-I337M
  • What is the purpose of this? It's not going to change any manufacturer's mind about how quickly they update. In the long run, Google is just shooting itself in the leg.
  • Google might as well kill tap and pay all together.
  • I think they just did. The number of phones on kit kat, in the US, whose carrier haven"t disabled it, must be fairly small. Posted via Android Central App
  • As is the number of users who actually use tap and pay.
  • Team Nexus!! Posted via Android Central App
  • It is exactly to help prevent Android fragmentation. I know a friend who's running Eclair. Still. I think GW (and Isis if it ever does better) is the future of payments. I love it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Such a small segment of the total of Android users actually use tap and pay, so this would be a highly ineffective way to push standardization on Kit Kat. In fact, it wouldn't work. This is much more likely about the carriers blocking access to the secure element in many/most phones in order to push their competing ISIS system for mobile payments, seeing that as a lucrative area in the future.
  • I don't think ajpri meant that this fights fragmentation by pushing carriers to adopt current Android versions more quickly. I think s/he meant that Google is moving to consolidate features into the OS itself rather than relying on hardware elements like the SIM card that are controlled by carriers to enable features.
  • Meh. When is att going to update the note 3 to kitkat. I use this from time to time and I want to keep using it. It's so much easier than me having to pull out my wallet all the time Posted via Android Central App
  • I was thinking the same thing but I just learned that the Note 3, even with KitKat won't work. Google is really not trying to expand wallet tap and pay. Posted via Android Central App
  • Just don't update google wallet and it should keep working...
    If you have a version of the app that does it the hardware way, and you keep it, there is no real for it to stop.
  • That's what I thought too, but I think they will disable tap and pay on all secure element phones. I haven't updated mine yet and I can still use it with the tweaked apk but I think their going to disable everything that's secure element. Posted via Android Central App
  • Or the server could require a minimum app version to authorize a payment.
  • My device was listed on the site as compatible many months ago and indeed it worked great until a few updates ago. The team assured me that they were working hard on a fix and I even helped out by sending Logs using log cat... And now this. Thanks Google, I truly loved this feature and now, with this news, I can't help but to feel a little bitter. Thanks for the high quality voice synthesis that bogged the internal storage by 224 mb.... You guys are on a roll!! Mike
  • this is a dumb move by Google....i understand trying to force OEM to KitKat as a minimum standard but this means the end-user not the OEM suffers if not....the problem is with how the wireless industry is setup in this country...what if I have a year left till upgrade and my OEM decides not to release an official KK update...i can either leave them and pay an ETF or root my phone and take a chance on a custom rom...neither option is complete
  • Yea, I don't understand this at all. They should have done this later on after many more phones were on KitKat. Unless it has to do something with security issues which I doubt since that's the reason for the secure element. Their doing it for a reason. Maybe they want people to buy more nexus phones or Moto x phones. Posted via Android Central App
  • It's not about pushing Kit Kat as a minimum standard, it's about working around the limitations the big carriers, led by Verizon, to push their ISIS system for mobile payments while blocking Wallet from accessing the secure element on most phones.
  • I have wallet on my moto x but I haven't used it yet.. I think I'll try it out since it seems to be in more places now Posted via Android Central App
  • Please read thoroughly! 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. Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2, with 32GBs of internal memory and no sdcard. (Bring on 4.4.2, I can handle it.)
  • How does this comment help anyone? Posted via Android Central App
  • I understand why they are doing it, but I feel like they should have waited a bit longer. They are shooting themselves in the foot by jumping the gun, because most manufacturers will be releasing a new flagship devivce by the end of Q3-2014. It's safe to assume every one of these will be on 4.4 or any new update potentially released, and all the lower spec models released in tow will also be on at least 4.4. THEN they should make the maybe in July or August. Like Jerry mentios in his post, not many people use tap and pay, but I'm willing to bet a good chunk of those that do are not running 4.4, and likely never will on their current device. This forces them to buy new hardware to continue using it, resulting in some pretty pissed off customers. Granted, many of these people will buy a new device tyhis year anyway, but why make them suffer needlessly until then when having wallet set up using both security measures like it does right now wouldn't really be that hard to do for just a few more months until a good large percentage of customers who do use it have upgraded, or at least have a good selection to choose from that will work with the new tech. I'd be interested in knowing how many people who regularly use tap and pay this will affect. I'm not one, but I can imagine there are quite a lot.
  • They are preempting the inevitable. Verizon and the other carriers decided they wanted all the mobile payment pie, and have effective disabled Google Wallet's tap to pay feature on many phones by denying it access to the secure element on their phones, but allowing their own ISIS system to access it unfettered. It's anti-competitive, but nobody seems motivated to hold them to account for such a small user segment.
  • How do I find out if im using tap & pay? Ive got a Samsung Galaxy S4. Posted via Android Central App
  • In the Google wallet app it will say if tap and pay is enabled or disabled. Posted via Android Central App
  • I just uninstalled Wallet as I never used it. Plus I won't be upgrading to KitKat anyway. KitKat isn't a big enough upgrade for me to deal with the SD issue.
  • So what will happen in this scenario. I have an HTC One SV on Boost. Tap and pay is working again after this latest update. The phone does not have service (upgraded to moto G), so how will it get disabled if it never touches the internet again? This would include not using wifi either.
  • My LG G2 With tmobile has tap to pay disabled. Wtf. I am on 4.4.2 Posted via Android Central App
  • Lately Google has made some dumb decisions. I guess their making enough money from advertising and don't care as much anymore. I was recently using tap and pay almost every day. I was going to upgrade to Note 3 but even with KitKat the new Google wallet won't work. I guess they don't really want people using it. It was hard enough already. I just don't understand. Posted via Android Central App
  • It works fine under Kit Kat. I am using it on my MotoX with no trouble.
  • This whole thing would have been a non-issue if Verizon, et al had not become greedy and tried to lock Wallet out of the secure element in favor of their ISIS program.
  • Well Hell. I'm going to have to get S-Off on my EVO 4G LTE I guess... My Nexus 5 & 7 are good to go though... Annoying...