Digital wallets and payment services have taken a long time to catch on, but a new partnership between Google and PayPal suggest that could all change soon.
Google Wallet was originally launched in 2011 and serves as a digital wallet with a an intended function not all that different from a physical wallet, but digitally. Initially, Google Wallet used a Google pre-paid reload-able digital debit card, but slowly expanded to cover various credit/debit cards and loyalty cards such as Walgreens and California Pizza Kitchen, but it is now primarily used as a transaction system for purchases through Google Play or other Google services.
Paypal was the pioneer of such transactional services, but had over a decade head-start on Google Wallet. Paypal has been providing transaction services–mainly for its parent company, ebay–for years and allows users to integrate access to their bank account and credit cards. In fact, Paypal initially sued Google over “misappropriation of trade secrets” after Google Wallet employed a former PayPal executive.
The Google/PaPal suit hasn’t been the only line of contention since the advent of the mobile wallet, though. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile have partnered to form their own mobile wallet, Isis, and have regularly stonewalled Google’s attempts to provide Google Wallet on any phones they carry.
Although Google Wallet was greeted out the gate with a PayPal lawsuit, there has been a conspicuous lack of news since then, and the original lawsuit documentation has been removed from ebay’s website. In over 3 years there has been no decision or settlement announced. In fact, PayPal and Google just announced PayPal support for Google Wallet.
Currently, Google Wallet only supports PayPal transactions through Play Store downloads, such as app purchases, so there is no mobile wallet support available at this time. Paypal can be linked to most bank accounts, as can Google Wallet, so the two can share the same pot of money, but this ability has existed for some time now. The ability to go into Walgreens and use a phone to make a purchase using Paypal funds is still some time off in the future, but this new cooperation brings us one step closer.
The popularity of wallet cell phone cases and devices like the Coin digital credit card show that consumers are desiring to find a unified solution for both their wallets and their digital payment services. Hopefully the market will mature in a few years and cooperation such as this deal between Google and PayPal will be more commonplace.