Android Pay vs Google Wallet

Android Pay vs Google Wallet: A Difference in Handling your Money

When it comes to spending your money, you can never be too safe, or have too many options. This is where either Android Pay or Google Wallet comes into play to take care of you spending your money. However, don’t these two services competing against each other sound a little confusing?

This isn’t the first time Google has two of its services in competition with each other—see Hangouts and Messenger, or the former Google Videos and Youtube. Why would these two similar services exist? I’ll be diving into each and noting the differences to see which service is better than the other. I’ll also be helping you decide which service you think you should use to keep your money safe.

Option 1: Google Wallet

Let’s start with the eldest service first, it’s only the respectful thing to do for Google Wallet. Google Wallet has been around since 2011, and has changed over time since its inception. It’s adapted and tried to stay as a competitive payment method. However, not all of these changes have added features. One major feature was removed in 2015—NFC functionality— to be added to Android Pay.

Despite the service Google Wallet may have provided in the pre-Android Pay era, let’s stack up its current iteration against its in-house competition.

What Will Google Wallet Cost Me?

Google Wallet setup or continued use won’t cost you anything but time. Rest assured that, at least currently, the service won’t cost you anything. If you have any concerns with the Google Wallet debit card, the FAQ on Google’s official wallet site will confirm that the card has no fees attached.

Where and How Can I Use Google Wallet?

Google Wallet, as a service, does not currently work outside of the US, and you cannot transfer money to residents outside of the US or UK. With the use of the Google Wallet debit card, you can make purchases at card supported establishments, otherwise, spending with Google Wallet is not tapped to pay like Android Pay.

As of 2015, as mentioned above, Google Wallet does not use NFC. The only way to use Google Wallet in brick and mortar stores is with the debit card that you can use with the service.

What’s the point of Google Wallet without the debit card then? Google Wallet’s most important feature is the ability to share and send money to other residents in the US and UK straight from your Google Wallet balance.

Google Pay Transfer

Additionally, you can sync Google Wallet with your Gmail account for other tied features such as using your wallet balance for Google-related purchases, instead of a credit or debit card for enhanced security.

Should I Use Google Wallet Over Android Pay?

The short answer is no.

Since 2015, Google Wallet has been essentially gutted and had its features (e.g. NFC functionality) moved into Android Pay instead. If you’ve already been using Google Wallet and have invested time and money into its service, then by all means stay.

However, if you’re looking to use its payment protection services, and not its money transfer functions, you’re much better off just using Android Pay instead.

Option 2: Android Pay

Now that we’ve covered the service that came before it, let’s talk about the service that borrowed some of Google Wallet’s functionality. In 2015 Google attempted to revitalize its payment service by creating Android Pay, and almost abandoning Google Wallet in the process.

Android Pay Icon

What Will Android Pay Cost Me?

Android Pay won’t cost you a dime, but you will need a phone with NFC functionality, and at least 4.4 Android stock. Your phone does not need to be running stock Android to function but could be recommended if you have trouble using the service while running a non-stock version of Android.

Where and How Can I Use Android Pay?

Currently, the only region where you can use Android Pay is in the US, but there are plans to bring the service to other regions (eventually). Where applicable, Android Pay can be used to complete one-touch purchases using your phone while unlocked. Simply touch your phone, or move it near an NFC reader at a register to use Android Pay instead of a credit or debit card.

This will only work at applicable establishments because not every store accepts Android Pay as a payment method. In most cases, however, you won’t even need the app to use the service. With a linked bank account or credit/debit card, you can use the service on many Android phones that have the option already installed.

Should I Use Android Pay Over Google Wallet?

In most cases, yes, you should. In fact, you can even upgrade Google Wallet into Android Pay if you weren’t already sure how much Google wants you to use this new service instead. One reason to still be using Google Wallet is how the service handles money transfers to other US or UK residents.

Android Pay Over

Otherwise, Android Pay’s one-touch payment system, which helps keep your bank information secure during transactions, is an easier way to pay with Android. If you’re worried about losing your balance or Google money, the transfer carries everything over in as short a time as possible.

In almost all cases, Android Pay is just all-around a better service.


While both extremely similar, Android Pay and Google Wallet do have a few key differences that would make you pick one service over the other. Google Wallet has seniority, and money transferring capabilities between the US and UK. While Android Pay features easier, and more secure ways to make purchases in brick and mortar stores with exposing yourself.

For those that are unwilling to make the change to Android Pay from Google Wallet, or just Android users that aren’t sure which service to use, you have a decision to make between quick and secure payments or easy money transfers to friends and family.

However, in almost all cases, Android Pay is just all around a better service.

When it comes to Android Pay vs Google Wallet, do you think differently? Please share your thoughts in the comments below why you like one service over the other!

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