When Apple Pay was launched alongside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the discussion surrounding mobile payments sparked positively. No longer were we talking about how various carriers were supporting their own brand, but how Apple was bringing some balance to the mess. Google rode Apple’s coattails a bit with Wallet, their long-standing, languished mobile payment service that never quite caught on. Now, the Wallet team is pinching from Apple’s playbook, and will be integrating Touch ID into Wallet.
Google Wallet’s use of Touch ID isn’t the same as Apple Pay, though. The security feature can only be used to log-in to the app. The only time you’ll use Touch ID to verify payments is with Apple Pay.
The app will also be optimized for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and allows for some offline use as well. If you’re in a store that doesn’t have WiFi or a strong cellular signal, you can still use loyalty and/or gift cards.
Google Wallet has long sat on the mobile payment bench, waiting for a teammate to play ball with and thumb their nose at carrier-supported offerings like SoftCard (formerly Isis). Since Apple Pay stepped onto the field, Google has been supporting Wallet in a big way, which is great news for all.
Still, you won’t be able to use Wallet like Apple Pay on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus just yet. Apple doesn’t allow use of NFC outside of Apple Pay, which is dedicated for use with Apple Pay.