Google has fingers in lots of pies, but in a few short months it will be pulling one of its fingers out of the digital payments pie. As of 2 March 2015, Google Wallet for digital goods will be no more. After three years of fighting off the competition, the search giant has decided to throw in the towel, get out of the digital payments game and leave it to services like PayPal and Apple Pay.
Starting life as a mobile-based payment system compatible with certain smartphones including the iPhone, Google Wallet allowed payments to be made via NFC.
It then evolved into a web-based payment service, but never managed to break out of the confines of the US. In a few short months, anyone using the service to make or receive payments will have to turn to one of the alternatives. But what’s with the sudden shuttering?
In fact it is not the full Google Wallet service that is closing down, just the digital goods side of things. Google doesn’t give much away in explaining why the decision was taken to shut up shop.
The closure is something of a low-key affair, but a page has been added to the Help section of the Google Wallet site. Here Google says that: "The industry has matured a lot since [Google Wallet launched], providing a number of alternative payment solutions to choose from."
On 2 March 2015, the Google Wallet for digital goods API will be no more. Developers are advised to remove client-side integration code from their websites, delete code that generates JSON Web Tokens, and get rid of the postback code. But this is not the end of the line for Google Wallet. It will still be supported for developers selling apps through Google Play, or who are using the service to process in-app payments.
Interestingly Google is leaving it to merchants to convey the news to users of Google Wallet: "Google Wallet buyers will not be proactively notified. Keep in mind that if you do not remove your integration before March 2, 2015, your buyers will get 404 errors upon checking out with Google Wallet for digital goods API.
"To preserve your user experience, we highly recommend removing your integration and migrating to another payment processing solution as soon as possible."
As Google Wallet is used to process payments for subscription services, developers only have a few months to decide on an alternative. Google, unsurprisingly perhaps, has no suggestions other than "we encourage you to research payment processing solutions to best fit the needs of your buyers."