One reason behind the tepid response to Google Wallet was its dependence on NFC-enabled phones for its use. That restriction is about to lifted, as today the company announced it will roll out a new version for all devices that run Android 2.3 or later in the United States, whether they are NFC friendly or not.
The app also will facilitate several new functions, including free money transfers via email for users who link their bank account with the app or choose to withdraw from their Google Wallet balance. And Google Wallet users now can add loyalty cards by scanning the bar code or entering the card number.
The new app, available free in the Google Play store, is integrated with loyalty programs such as Belly, Alaska Airlines and Red Mango. The company said more programs will be added soon, including Avis Car Rental, BJ's Restaurants, Cosi, Hard Rock International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, Raley's and The Body Shop.
The app also will remember offers from other services such as Maps, Search, Google+ and Offers. They can be redeemed by using the app at select retailers.
Learn more about the mobile/digital wallet.