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Google Wallet expands non-payment utility, driving user growth

The news: Google introduced five Wallet features, per a company blog post.

  1. Save passes from an image. Customers can take a photo and create a digital version of any pass that contains a barcode or QR code, including gym memberships, transit tickets, and parking passes.
  2. Save private documents. Google will let customers label cards as private, which require additional verification to add, view, or use. The service is beginning with a partnership with Humana and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) to digitize insurance information.
  3. Save IDs. Users in Maryland can save their ID cards and use them at TSA checkpoints, with support for Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia IDs to follow.
  4. Save from messages. Travel check-ins, dining reservations, and other notifications in the messaging app can be sent directly to Wallet, starting with partnerships with Vietnam Airlines, Spain-based Renfe, and reservation service TagMe.
  5. Save company IDs. Google will add support for corporate IDs later this year.

Google’s opportunity: These features can resolve pain points and meet consumer demands.

  • Android’s open ecosystem lets any provider develop a digital wallet, creating fragmentation: Customers could have bank-based and retailer-based wallets in addition to Google Pay.
  • Google Wallet helps reduce this fragmentation by consolidating payments and passes into one product—a push that these features build on. This can help Google create a daily app rather than a destination, GM Jenny Cheng told Insider Intelligence.
  • The new offerings can also move customers away from physical wallets by letting them digitize more documents.

Why it matters: In-demand offerings can boost Google Pay’s growth tear. Customers’ top-valued features in digital wallets are store loyalty and payments consolidation and ease of use, per McKinsey. Offering them enhances the Google Wallet experience, making it more valuable and convenient.

  • This could attract new users who might not have adopted Wallet for payments, but then become proximity payment users. That would help drive Google Pay user growth, which we expect will increase by 8.5% this year to hit 33.8 million users in the US alone—expanding its lead over rival Samsung Pay.
  • It can also tighten relationships with users by giving them reasons to come back to Wallet more often, encouraging habit formation that translates into spending as US mobile proximity payment per-user volume increases by nearly $1,000 annually, per our forecast.

Dig deeper: Check out our US Mobile Proximity Payments Forecast 2023 to learn more about Google’s role in the mobile wallet ecosystem.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Payments Innovation Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the payments industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.