Earlier this week, Google rolled out a new version of the Google Wallet app for Android, which dropped the requirement that phones had to feature NFC technology for in-store payments to run the app. Now that this requirement has been dropped and Wallet has a new focus on loyalty cards, coupons and offers, the company is also bringing it to iOS today.
Apple has famously eschewed adding NFC support to its phones, so the old version of Google Wallet wouldn’t have made all that much sense on its devices because it was still mostly a payments tool. Now, however, Google positions it as a service to store your supermarket and airline loyalty cards and as an easier way to send money to friends through Gmail, a tool it introduced earlier this year.
To add loyalty cards, all you have to do is scan the card. For now, the selection of supported cards is still somewhat limited, however, but when it launched the Android version, Google said it would add more programs from vendors like Avis Car Rental, Hard Rock International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and The Body Shop in the near future.
The app also surfaces all of your Google Offers and lets you redeem them from inside the app, no matter whether you found them on Google Maps, Google+, Google Search or Google Offers itself. Google is also now working with a number of select couponing sites and merchants to let you save offers on their sites.
Google says all Google Wallet transactions are monitored 24/7 for fraud (feel free to insert your favorite NSA joke here) and if you ever lose your phone, you can go to the service’s website and disable the app remotely.
If you are in the U.S., you can download the app now. It’s not clear when Google plans to expand this program internationally.
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