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Google Wallet is getting custom cards and state IDs this month

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

Google Wallet, the peer-to-peer payment service, is introducing new features this month that will make it easier for users to access their funds and use their accounts for a wider variety of transactions.


Google Wallet
Google Wallet Image - Gearlogy


One of the most exciting new features is the ability to create custom debit cards with the user's own design, as well as the option to store state-issued identification cards directly in the Google Wallet app. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at these new features and what they mean for Google Wallet users.


With some new updates announced this week, Google is trying to give these cards, passes, and IDs a centralized home in its Wallet app for Android devices. And in doing so, said Jenny Cheng, Google’s vice president in charge of Wallet, the company is trying to fully “replace all the things you would normally have in your physical wallet.”


Custom Cards


The ability to create custom debit cards is a game-changer for Google Wallet users. Previously, users were issued a standard debit card with the Google Wallet logo, which didn't offer much in the way of personalization.


Now, users can upload their own designs or photos to create a card that reflects their personality and style. This is a great way for users to make their Google Wallet account feel more like their own, and it's sure to be a hit with younger users who are looking for ways to express themselves.


State IDs


Another new feature that's sure to be popular with Google Wallet users is the ability to store state-issued identification cards directly in the app. This means that users can now use their Google Wallet account as a form of ID when needed, which is incredibly convenient. It's also a great way to keep important documents like driver's licenses and state IDs safe and secure, as users can access them directly from their phones. This feature is currently only available in select states, but it's expected to roll out to more areas in the near future.


Sticking with the transit theme, Google is also making it easier to complete travel check-in processes on your phone prior to arriving at the airport or train station — provided you’re a Google Messages user anyway.


Those who use Google Messages with RCS enabled will be able to receive tickets and boarding passes directly on the Messages app, from which they can be saved to Google Wallet. Vietnam Airlines and Renfe, Spain’s leading train operator, will be the first two travel companies to support the feature. Google hasn’t mentioned a release date for either of these new Wallet features, only noting that they’re both “coming soon.”


Increased Functionality


Finally, these new features represent a major step forward for Google Wallet as a whole. By adding custom cards and state IDs, Google is making its payment service more versatile and useful for a wider range of users.


These new features also position Google Wallet as a more serious contender in the mobile payment market, as they make the service more competitive with other payment apps like Venmo and Cash App.


These cards and passes have some additional security compared to things like travel tickets and require users to verify their identity using methods like fingerprint scans or PINs every time they’re added, viewed, or used. Health insurance cards and passes that similarly contain sensitive information will be labeled as a “Private Pass” within Google Wallet.


Also, users in Germany can now save a Deutschland ticket — a monthly subscription ticket that can be used across all local public transportation — to their Google Wallet. Google has also teased that it will start introducing corporate badges in Google Wallet later this year, allowing employees to securely access their workplace without a physical staff pass.


What about iPhone users?


While Apple is expected to announce some changes to its Wallet app at its upcoming developer conference, it doesn’t currently let you scan these kinds of cards and passes to import them.


Instead, you may want to consider popular apps like Stocard (for loyalty cards) and Barcodes (for anything with, you know, a bar code) as a handy stand-in.


There’s no way to use Apple’s Wallet app to directly import these kinds of cards, but certain insurance providers will let you migrate digital versions of those cards into Apple Wallet — you just have to start the process from inside their own app first.


To start, open the Notes app, create a new note, and tap the camera icon at the bottom of the screen. From there you can “scan” it — once that’s done, tap the menu button in the top-right corner and hit the “Lock” icon that appears to secure it.


Conclusion


Overall, the new custom cards and state IDs are a welcome addition to Google Wallet, and they're sure to be popular with users.


By adding more functionality and customization options, Google is making its payment service more appealing to a wider range of users. It will be interesting to see how these new features are received, and what other changes Google has in store for the future of Google Wallet.

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