Google’s customer-facing payments execution is confusing. One must drill down to understand the difference between Google Pay, G Pay and Google Wallet. Further, Google’s strategy for each of its FinTech apps differs by geography. Google’s confusing positioning is surprising to us given that we have the utmost respect for Bill Ready who leads Google’s Payments effort amongst other responsibilities.
- Google Pay: Let’s begin with the app icon for Google Pay – it reads “G Pay”, which makes it easy to confuse with G Pay – a separate, new app that has more functionality than Google Pay. Google Pay is primarily used for contactless payments (when a user taps his/her phone to a NFC reader at the point-of-sale). If contactless payments is your primary interest, Google Pay is the app for you (at least within the United States. In most markets Google Pay will become Google Wallet later in 2022, but not in the U.S. where Google Pay, G Pay and Google Wallet will be seperate apps).
- G Pay: G Pay is a newer, more comprehensive app as compared to Google Pay. G Pay – like Google Pay – has contactless payments functionality. In addition, G Pay enables peer-to-peer (“P2P”) payments (think Venmo) as well as deal shopping and reporting/analytics. Think of G Pay as both a payment center as well as having basic PFM (“Personal Financial Management”), capability.
- Google Wallet: Google Wallet will be released with Android 13 around Labor Day 2022. In most markets the Google Pay app will become Google Wallet. Not in the U.S. however. Within the U.S., Google Wallet will be an app for storing credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards, government issued IDs, boarding passes and more. Some of this functionality also exists in G Pay which enables users to store debit and credit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and transit cards.
In a perfect world all of this functionality would exist in one app for all global users. Google’s Product Managers could improve the company’s payments strategy by simplifying the product positioning by consolidating the three payments apps into one easy to use, intuitive app.