Google has been attempting to lighten our wallets for some time now. With the addition of loyalty cards last year and now with gift card management, they may be accomplishing just that.

wallet

In a blog post on Wednesday, the Google Commerce blog states:

Today, we're introducing several new features to the Google Wallet app* for Android and iOS devices that make it easier to shop in stores and get paid by friends and family. First, you can now easily manage your gift cards and redeem them in stores using the Wallet app. Never worry about forgetting your gift cards at home again. You can also request money from friends, which means you can settle the dinner bill while you're still at the table. Lastly, sending money with your debit card is now free, making it even easier to pay your friends or the babysitter using Wallet.
The gift card UI works similar to their loyalty card program. Users can have the front and back of their gift cards scanned. If the barcode is read properly it will populate that field and just require the card's PIN number. Once that is done for supported merchants, the amount will populate and it will sync with Google Wallet.

merchants

So far on board according to the post are Best Buy, Toys R Us, Nike, and more. I entered in two other cards, one with Lowe's and one with Regal Entertainment Group. They were not supported, but I am able to pull those cards up and a barcode or QR code appears for that merchant to scan and use. So even though there is not universal support, it appears that we should be able to attempt just about any gift card that we can. This update will also work with online gift cards according to the post. This works for fewer merchants out the gate, but expect some broader support later on.


The second large change with version 2.0 R172 v18 is the reduction or removal of fees for transferring funds through Google Wallet via debit card. I had previously been able to transfer money with my credit card fee free, but debit cards were a different story. That fee is now gone. Spanish users have some additional support now as well. I would imagine if this application ever makes a more international reach, more languages will become available.

Google still appears to be invested in the Wallet platform. If you've used it recently either to buy merchandise via NFC, use a loyalty card, or now a gift card, let us know how it went in the comments. Is that wallet getting any lighter?



From: Google Commerce Blog

H/T and APK: Droid Life