Google Wallet Removing NFC Loyalty, Gift Redemption (Aug. 12, 2013)
Aug. 12, 2013
Google is discontinuing NFC redemption for gift and loyalty cards stored in Google Wallet. Late last week, the company sent an email to users who had added gift or loyalty cards to their Wallet app, saying NFC redemption of such cards will end on Aug. 21. Cardholders have until that date to spend any remaining balances on the cards through the wallet. Physical loyalty and gift cards are not affected by the news, Google said, while NFC capability for payment cards also will continue to function as normal.
The move might not spell the end for NFC gift and loyalty on Google Wallet, however. “We’re working with retailers on other options for gift and loyalty card redemption within Google Wallet and are excited to share them with you soon,” the company said in its email to users.
This isn’t the first time Google Wallet has dropped a function. Last September, Google announced it was discontinuing the proprietary prepaid card that had been included with the wallet. At the time, the company cited a lack of need for the card since the app added the ability to use any payment card in the wallet. In May, Osama Bedier, who had been heading Google’s payment and wallet initiatives, left the company to pursue other interests. Google also faces a slew of new competitors entering the mobile payment arena, including the telecom joint venture Isis, which is set to roll out across the country, and retailer-led consortium MCX, which is at work developing its own mobile payment solution.