Google breathed some new life into its Wallet offering today, adding new features and extending support for the app to all Android devices running Android 2.3 or later. Users can now send money to any adult in the U.S. through Google Wallet, and money transfers from a debit or credit card are now available for a fee. Google also expanded its important loyalty card feature, enabling users to scan their cards or enter a barcode and then redeem them at stores that have the right equipment rather than relying entirely on NFC.
I’ve written before that loyalty cards and mobile coupons will be crucial for driving adoption of the mobile wallet because they can be more convenient than carrying stacks of paper cards and coupons. But while the new Google Wallet now provides more value, its NFC-based functions still aren’t available to subscribers of Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile, as my colleague Kevin Tofel notes. Those operators instead are backing the NFC-based Isis system, which also continues to struggle. That standoff demonstrates how too many competing solutions continue to shackle overall growth of the mobile wallet.