Mar 14 AT 2:22 PM Dima Aryeh 5 Comments

Google Wallet Tap & Pay to cease working on pre-KitKat devices come April 14

google wallet

In Android 4.4, Google introduced a new method of paying with Google Wallet known as Host Card Emulation, or HCE. It allows Google to bypass carrier rules that prevent an app from accessing something as integral as an NFC secure element. Instead, it would use just NFC safely. This means that Wallet users were no longer limited to Sprint or Nexus devices; even carrier branded devices updated to KitKat could now pay with Google Wallet Tap & Pay.

Unfortunately, it seems that Google isn’t keen on using the old method for much longer. The company announced that hardware running any version of Android earlier than KitKat will no longer be able to use Tap & Pay after April 14. This means devices stuck on Android 4.3, like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and many Sprint phones, will lose Tap & Pay functionality.

Luckily, I think so few people actually use Tap & Pay that it won’t be a big issue. Most devices that can use it in the first place are already running KitKat anyway. And with Motorola, Samsung, HTC and LG phones getting updated to KitKat left and right, the number of people that are able to use this feature is growing every day.

It’s unfortunate that Google has to limit an already limited service, but it’s really not a big deal. All other Wallet functionality, like sending money and storing loyalty cards, will continue working for everyone. Are you going to be affected by this new decision? Leave a comment!

Via: Droid-Life

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things tech. He does photography, is an avid phone modder (who uses an AT&T Galaxy Note II), a heavy gamer (both PC and 360), and an aspiring home mechanic. He is also an avid fan of music, especially power metal.

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  • thel0nerang3r

    I had trouble a couple of days ago, and I thought it was just my phone. I’m on 4.3. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones that got the update early!

  • donger

    Kit kat :-)

  • William Swartzendruber

    These articles about Google dropping Tap to Pay for older Android versions really need to mention that NXP has just submitted HCE support for its NFC chips. This means that all phones running Android 4.4.3 should have Tap to Pay on all carriers.

  • Joe K

    I use it regularly at stores such as Walgreen, CVS, Home Depot, Shoprite and many others. I have a S3 on Verizon (rooted) which means that I won’t be able to use GW after 4/14. The chances of Verizon releasing Kit Kat before 4/14 are slim to none and slim left town. Google should wait on doing this until June which would allow some time for a multitude of phones to get the update. There is a good possibility that if I get cut off from using GW then I will move to Isis and if I do I probably won’t go back! I’m really fed up with these cat & mouse games.

  • WRH

    Its doesn’t seem that Google does not really wants to be in this payment business anyway judging from the very limited market penetration and lack of retailer acceptance.
    Host Card Emulation, or HCE means that Wallet users were no longer limited to Sprint or Nexus devices, so maybe there is a chance. But I see Google’s lack of marketing for tap and pay as an indication that they may let it die unless they find more marketing partners.