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Google Wallet Tap & Pay Will No Longer Work After April 14 for Non Kit Kat Devices

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Just a quick heads-up to those of you still using Google Wallet, but own a device that doesn’t have Kit Kat (Android 4.4+). Google is going to kill off Tap & Pay functionality come April 14 for anything below Android 4.4. In other words, you will only be able to store loyalty cards and offers, send money to friends, view orders, and use the physical Google Wallet card to make purchases. OK, that’s most functionality, just not the Tap & Pay portion.

They began sending emails out last night to notify users who meet the 4.3 and below criteria and have also updated their Wallet support pages

Google mentions in the email that Kit Kat “works with different technology for an improved experience” that non-Kit Kat devices don’t have. I’d imagine they are talking about Host Card Emulation (HCE). With HCE, devices can make secure-NFC purchases without needing a Secure Element. This feature was indeed introduced with Android 4.4.

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The move is a bit of a downer, as Kit Kat (Android 4.4.+) currently only makes up 2.5% of the entire Android ecosystem. There are very few devices outside of Google’s own Nexus line, the HTC One, Motorola’s newest, and a handful of Galaxy devices that are currently running Android 4.4. That should change shortly with more and more Galaxy devices receiving the update, but until they have Kit Kat, Tap & Pay is out.

Here is the email our reader received:

Dear Milton,

We wanted to let you know about an update to Google Wallet that might change the way you use the app. Right now it looks like you’re using tap and pay with a device running an Android version older than 4.4 KitKat. On the newest version of Android, tap and pay works with different technology for an improved experience. As a result, starting on A​p​r​i​l 1​4, 2​0​1​4, tap and pay will no longer work for devices with older Android versions.

Tap and pay will be available for most devices running Android 4.4 KitKat. If you are able to upgrade to KitKat now, you can check if your device supports tap and pay. Supported devices will display a tile in your “My Wallet” screen that tells you to set up tap and pay. For devices that are not eligible for Android 4.4 KitKat or don’t support tap and pay, you can still use the Google Wallet app to store all of your loyalty cards and offers, send money to your friends, view your orders, and use the Google Wallet Card to make purchases.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for continuing to be a loyal Wallet user.

If you have any questions, please visit our Help Center.
Sincerely,
The Google Wallet Team

Cheers Milton!
  • TaiChii

    Interestingly enough, I just exchanged my note 3 for hardware failure and the replacement told me to enable tap to pay! Note 3 on sprint running kitkat.

  • Brian S.

    Question for everyone. Doesn’t the Host Card Emulation make it possible for devices without a Secure Element to utilize it’s capabilities? And if Kitkit can be run on devices that have low end specs if KitKat were to be loaded to those phones they could then use Tap to Pay.

    Any new devices that had an NFC chip in them are fairly new phones and should get a KitKat update anyways. I would first look for a ROM that is KitKat (although I think one needs to be rooted for this and last I checked rooted devices weren’t allowed to use Google Wallet, but this may have changed with the Host Card Emulation). If you can’t find that then I would complain to your OEM.

    It seems there is no loss here other than having to put this effort into getting the functionality back.

    On that note, how much do people use tap to pay? I have been hearing people say they’ve used it but I am unware of any stores that accept it.

  • William Swartzendruber

    NXP just submitted HCE routines for their NFC driver. I’m betting those changes will make it in Android 4.4.3.

  • jimv1983

    Until more places start installing the tap and pay readers it doesn’t really matter.

  • Daistaar

    Poor Milton!

  • DC_Guy

    Well I switched back to my Verizon Note 3 today and downloaded ISIS. I guess there’s no need for holding out for GW Tap & Pay support. I used ISIS to tap & pay for my groceries at Harris Teeter earlier today and it worked just fine. So, oh well.

  • Nathaniel Webb

    “Dear Milton,
    Please don’t burn the building down.

    -Googlebergh”

  • jim

    The tap and pay gimmick is dead.

  • jim

    Hasnt worked in so long im done with it

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    not that carriers didnt allow it before kk

  • AngryBadger

    So I could load up a wallet card with a balance and leave my debit card at home? I like the loyalty card feature as well. Just want to trim the fat from my actual wallet. I suppose credit card purchase protection wouldn’t work (like auto-extended warranty)? or can this card mimic the CC? Anyways, I just hate carrying around so many things.

    I have several IDs alone! would love to be able to consolidate all my payment options and stuff.

  • Collin Chapin

    WTF?

  • Todd

    Android fragmentation at work.

  • Kyle

    OK all you Tap and Pay users….noob question here…how do you recognize if a vendor offers the ability to use Tap and Pay?

  • bogy25

    OK then my Razr is getting upgraded to Kit Kat before then right….? Right???

  • Wolfpack93

    That’s one way to encourage growth of the Kit Kat slice of the Android distribution pie.

  • AndroidUser00110001

    If you are on AT&T or T-Mobile. Have Samsung or LG phone with KitKat than you can not user tap to pay either since Isis and it’s partners took out the tap to pay function on their KitKat updates. Not sure about Verizon but I am guessing it is the same with their LG and Samsung updates and not sure if HTC One with KitKat does tap to pay with KitKat.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/t-mobile-allow-google-wallet-tap-to-pay-to-function-on-their-networks

    • Hothfox

      As of right now, the Verizon Moto X can use tap to pay.

      • AndroidUser00110001

        And that is why I did not include Moto X in my statement :)

      • hebrewHAMMER

        Are you using the latest version of Wallet? It looks like it’s only in the first KitKat revision of Wallet.

        • Hothfox

          I’m using the version from the update this week. I still have Tap and Pay settings, but have not actually tried to Tap and Pay with it since the update.

    • Defenestratus

      I had thought the same thing about the carriers too… gave T-mobile a bunch of hell about it too before I did more research.

      Turns out that the NXP chipset for NFC isn’t supported in Android for HCE. This includes the Note 3. So its not the carriers necessarily. Its Android.

      • AndroidUser00110001

        On T-Mobile G2 and AT&T no wallet tap to pay. I install international ROM on my AT&T G2 and Wallet tap to pay works.

        Lets not forget that T-Mobile is an Isis partner too so who know’s what is true…

    • Rashawn31

      My galaxy s4 tap and pay works on AT&T since the 4.4 update.

      • AndroidUser00110001

        Cool. I thought I read it did not work. On the AT&T G2 KitKat update there are files missing for Google Wallet Tap to Pay to work…

    • JSo

      My LG Nexus 5 works with Google Wallet on T-Mobile. But it IS a Nexus device. :)

    • Ray
  • sam

    The optimist in me says this is a good thing for those on VZW. Whereas today tap & pay doesn’t work on ANY VZW device (regardless of Android version), perhaps now this will allow Google to release an app for every wireless provider that uses HCE, therefore bringing tap/pay to VZW for the first time…

    • steveliv

      Wallet Tap and Pay works fine on my stock VZW Moto X.

    • JSo

      Google Wallet worked on my Galaxy Nexus on Verizon

      • steveliv

        Yeah, it worked on mine too, and then i moved to the Moto X where it also works.

        • JSo

          Maybe its just Samsung/TouchWiz devices. I’ve never owned one.

    • ForrestTracey

      Sam fell off the short bus… Every phone I have on VZW has Tap And Pay and working Google wallet tap and pay. Where on earth did you get your info from??

      • Futbolrunner

        Works on my verizon S3 after some mods but cant work on my verizon Note 3.

    • Tim242

      Works on my Verizon S4…for now.

  • JSo

    I started reading the headline going “whaaaaaaatt?” then finished going “oh, ok. I’m good.”

  • Open1Your1Eyes0

    Sadly, KitKat alone does not help certain devices with the Tap and Pay function. HCE as of Android 4.4.2 currently only supports Broadcom NFC chipsets. Certain phones like the Galaxy Note 3 use an NXP-based NFC chipset and stock Android currently doesn’t have the support for it as of today’s date. Those devices may have Tap and Pay show up but once they go to proceed with a transaction it would fail.

    Details here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=50878911&postcount=303

    • schwartzman93

      Umm. That forum is wrong. I have a moto x and wallet worked just fine for me the other day at McDonald’s

      • Open1Your1Eyes0

        Sorry let me clarify that a bit, certain devices like the Moto X and HTC One added their own “closed-source” NXP support for HCE on top of AOSP in order to get theirs working. Samsung has yet to implement their own solution in this case or perhaps they are ignoring it and waiting for Google to plug it into AOSP. Basically, if you use any pure AOSP-based KitKat ROM on any NXP NFC chipset device, HCE will not work.

    • Tim242

      Yeah, works fine on my S4…until April 14 ugggj Hopefully the S5 is out by then.

    • Taylor Abrahamson

      Woah I didn’t know that!

    • Tim242

      It works on the Moto X

  • brkshr

    That doesn’t sound like a smart move. That eliminates 97.5% of Android users (that probably comes out to a billion users now). I kind of get why they would do this, but I would think it would be smarter to wait until KitKat gains in numbers or implement some sort of backwards compatibility into Google Wallet.

    • Tim242

      Well to be fair, only a small percentage can use it…and most of that small percentage has to be rooted.

      • brkshr

        Very true

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    “FRAG OUT”!

  • Ray

    well maybe if Verizon updated the Samsung phones to 4.4 this wouldn’t affect any of us oh well wishful think

    • Defenestratus

      Only the S4 will be able to use HCE on 4.4.2 or less. NXP chipsets aren’t supported in Android for NFC (what the Note 3 has)

    • AndroidUser00110001

      Nope only Isis will do tap to pay. AT&T and T-Mobile blocked wallet tap to pay and only allow Isis. I am sure Verizon is the same since they invested countless millions in Isis.

  • crazed_z06

    lol big deal.. Tap and Pay never worked on 95% of devices anyway

    • http://www.ytmnd.com MH

      Right? I have yet to see another person use the service in the wild, and I travel a lot for work. I dont think this will be missed.

      • crazed_z06

        I actually used it at Mcdonalds and 7/11 alot back when I had the sideloaded app on my Nexus.

        I’m the only person that I know ever used it. Never seen or heard about anyone else using it. Interestingly enough, I saw a guy use ISIS the other day. We go to Jamba juice and they give you a free drink if you use ISIS to buy.

        • AndroidUser00110001

          I got $50 for signing up with Isis. Used it and removed it from my phone :)

          • crazed_z06

            I need a new SIM to use ISIS. Im scared it will mess up my unlimited data though. I got my Note 3 during “the glitch” and re-used my old SIM.

        • http://www.ytmnd.com MH

          Sounds about like my experience with it. Sadly, it will take the likes of apple to make NFC blow up.

          • Fresh360

            This is sad but true…

      • ForrestTracey

        I use it almost every week. My wife uses it all the time at her work at a vending machine.

        • JSo

          I’ve never seen a tap and pay option on a vending machine. Cool

          • ForrestTracey

            Yeah it’s super cool. She works at a Hospital and has made her iPhone coworkers jealous on several occasions :)

  • MettaWorldTroll

    Patiently awaiting the cries of people not on KK who have only used the feature once but feel like complaining…

    • Steve B

      This ^^^

    • Ray

      haha i dont use it that often because the terminals at 7 eleven never work

      • http://www.ytmnd.com MH

        They dont work well at best buy either, the one time every few years I actually buy something there,

        • cocci852

          I tried using it at best buy a bit ago, but apparently best buy doesn’t allow it. I think it had something to do with GW acting as a MasterCard and BB didn’t like MC’s terms or something.

          • Chad Vincent

            I found the same thing when I tried at BBY. They will allow physical PayPass cards, but not NFC Tap and Pay.

      • jimv1983

        I got my Nexus 5 in November and used my phone to pay at 7-11 for a month. One day it just stopped working. I thought it was my phone but had no problem at McDonald’s or Macy’s. I decided to contact Google support. After about two weeks of going back and forth(even sent a log file from my phone) with Google support they told me it was a 7-11 issue. At that point I decided to follow up with 7-11. I went to their corporate web site and send them an email. A few days later I actually got a call from 7-11. The guy informed me that 7-11 had stopped accepting all forms of contactless payment. That includes all forms of phone payments as well as things like MasterCard PayPass, etc. He could not provide a reason.

    • Mike

      Use it where I can on my 4.2.2 CM10.1.3 GNEX. It will be missed.
      I know I can slap another (probably unstable) ROM, but honestly I’d rather just replace the phone!

      • JRomeo

        It’s time to jump to the Nexus5…..

        • Jonathan Williams

          I’ve got Fork My Life OmniRom that’s 4.4.2 on my GNex

    • Tim242

      I use it every day on my Verizon S4. I would be mad if the S5 wasn’t coming out in April.

  • Morlok8k

    Dont they want people to use their service? Putting more restrictions on it makes it more and more useless.
    I cant use tap and pay even though i have a vzw Note 3 with totally functional NFC.

    (facepalm)

    • d-rock

      I have a feeling there’s more to it than just cutting people off. I’m sure there’s a solid business strategy to the whole thing, but I do think it’s lame. Having said that, it sounds like it’s a software update that kills it, so old Wallet apps may work fine.

      • moelsen8

        i’m pretty sure google can and will flip the switch on their end. the app still communicates with them for all the info etc.

        • Tim242

          I’m not so sure about that. The tap & pay function doesn’t use data. So, I’m not sure they could block the NFC side of the app.

          • moelsen8

            interesting. i thought it would have to authenticate with google when it opens..

          • d-rock

            nope…you can use NFC payments on the Nexus 7 wifi with no data. You just don’t get the confirmation on your device of the purchase. It’s more like swiping a credit card.

      • Fresh360

        VISA and Mastercard stated last month that they are supporting ‘Tap & Pay’ ONLY when it is implemented using HCE. This alone is a big enough reason for Google to cease usage on anything that doesn’t have HCE. So I totally understand but the 1st thing that came to my mind was “Dis dat bullshyt!” before i relized i only tapped to pay once in the 2 years I had the ability.

        • Michael Lowrey

          Where do they accept tap Pay at? Our soda machines at work use to allow issi, but other than that I’ve never seen any goggle wallet displays. Must be a Starbucks thing as I never go there.

          • Fresh360

            I used it at Kids Footlocker 2 Christmas’ ago, it actually worked very well because Footlocker had a GW only coupon that was automatically deducted from my purchase. You can also tap and pay at Macys, and of course good old McDonalds.

          • jimv1983

            If something takes Isis it will probably work with Google Wallet too. Have you tried?

    • Steve B

      Forcing people to use this only on devices with HCE will help the carriers get onboard.

    • Defenestratus

      The Note 3 cannot use HCE even if its on 4.4 because Google hasn’t provided support in Android for HCE on NXP chipsets for NFC.

      There’s a thread on XDA about it. Supposedly they say its coming in 4.4.3 but you know how those things go.

      • Morlok8k

        This explains why NFC apps on the store don’t work for me like the RFID readers. Thank you.

        I wonder if i’ll ever see 4.4.3….

      • Marcellus1

        My GS3 also has the NXP chipset. Here’s hoping that NXP is supported in 4.4.3, that 4.4.3 is released before 4/14, and that CM 11 updates to 4.4.3 as well by 4/14! LOL. I’d love for all that to happen, but I’m afraid I’m gonna be left in the lurch for a bit while I wait for everything to catch up. I use tap to pay all the time, so I’m gonna miss it. RIP.
        Disclaimer: No, I’m not on Kitkat right now, I’m on a stock, rooted 4.1.2, waiting for NXP tap to pay to be supported on kitkat before I update :)

      • Jason B

        Interesting, considering the Moto X also uses a NXP NFC chipset and works just fine. I’d say it’s a Samsung problem.

    • Eric R.

      Im okay with Google trying to force manufacturers to update phones.

      • Tim242

        I highly doubt that manufacturers care about Wallet.

        • Eric R.

          Thats why I said “trying”

          • CHRIS42060

            Google is smart enough to even try to use Google Wallet at leverage. I am sure there are a few other precipitating factors.

      • Michael Lowrey

        And then there is verizon

    • Kevin

      They want it to be more secure.

  • ReturnOfTheMack

    I hope this doesn’t further hinder people’s adoption of Google Wallet or other similar services. I can see why they want to do this though.

  • Wishinitwas

    Feeling better everyday about ditching TW and getting my VZW S4 on a ported GE S4 4.4 ROM.

  • Bigsike

    Looks like I won’t be using GW on my VZW Note 3 until sometime next year then. :/

    • Defenestratus

      See my comments above. HCE wont work on the Note 3 in 4.4.2 because of its NFC chipset and its non-support in Android.

  • Michael

    Read this as ” Google Wallet Tap & Pay Will No Longer Work After April 14 ” Almost cried!

    • http://gplus.to/bdbplatano M. Puente

      ME TOO! lol

      • MichaelFranz

        Me 3

        • reinnier

          Me 4

    • Chase

      As someone who uses tap to pay on a Galaxy Nexus this is exactly what the effect is.

      • michael arazan

        This is why I got the physical card for GWallet for my brother to lend him money when he needs it, and because its in my account it’s instantaneous without any wait. He has a Gnex

    • CHRIS42060

      Yea I had the same reactions lol. Droid Life really needs to preface these type of titles with “DO NOT FREAK OUT UNTIL YOU READ THE ENTIRE TITLE.”