Payments

Say goodbye to Google Pay

  • Google is shuttering its Google Pay app in the U.S. announcing that its users will have until June 4th, 2024 to move their funds. 
  • While Google hasn't given any explanation as to why its discontinuing Google Pay, we try to unpack the announcement to arrive at a few reasons why this may have happened.
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Say goodbye to Google Pay

Google is shuttering its Google Pay app in the U.S. announcing that its users will have until June 4th, 2024 to move their funds. 

This news is less about removing functionality, and more about migrating it. After June 4th, Google Pay users will be able to use the Google Wallet app instead for their payments. 

While the company’s announcement doesn’t mention a specific reason for this change, the text’s language does give a few hints as to what their reasons may be. 

Simplification: Google claims the sunsetting of its Google Pay app, which operated separately from Google Wallet, is an attempt at simplification. The idea here may be that by merging the tap-to-pay functionalities of Google Pay with its wallet app which stores digital verification documents like state IDs, transit cards, and driver’s licenses, users in the US can access all their go-to functionalities from the same place. 

But this isn’t the first time Google has tried to rehome its payments apps. About 6 years ago, Google was trying to do something similar, but this time it was the wallet-based functionalities that were going into Google Pay. The fact that Google plays this type of convoluted Jenga with its payments often mars any argument for simplification. Moreover, if simplification was the key driver here, wouldn’t Google be extending this app merger to all its regions? 

Instead, the announcement details that the Google Pay app will continue to function for users outside of the US, stating that “for the millions of people who use the Google Pay app in India and Singapore, nothing will change as we continue to build for the unique needs in those countries,”. 

The wallet is more popular: Perhaps another reason for this merger of apps is that one app is simply more popular than the other. The company says in its announcement that its wallet app is used 5 times more in the US than Google Pay.

It’s not clear if it’s the overhead of maintaining two separate apps, both of which have failed to justify this spend and win against major players like Apple or if it’s a deprioritization of the US region that is taking place. Much like Apple Pay in the US, Google Pay is fairly successful in regions like India, where it started offering credit products to people and small businesses last year

“With Google Wallet, we’re really excited, as you can imagine, because this has been a long journey in terms of being able to be thoughtful about bringing an app to market that not only gives you access to payments, but all the non payment pieces that you would expect. So that is your identity, your health insurance cards — things you would normally put in your physical wallet. 

I like to say my goal here is to be able to leave your physical wallet at home and be able to leave the house and get in the car just with your phone, be able to do a lot of things there, and feel safe and secure about it without having to worry,” said Jenny Cheng, VP, General Manager of Google Wallet at Google in a recent Tearsheet podcast.

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