The Google Wallet Android app looks set to see some security-focused changes arriving with a future release. One of which is the addition of a new feature (fingerprint support), while the other is the change to an existing feature (PIN support). Neither of these changes are currently live in the Google Wallet app, although their existence has been noted during a teardown by Android Police of the latest version of the app.
Fingerprint support should need little introduction, as this has become a very widely-used feature and especially for apps that place a focus on financial and/or personal/sensitive data. So while it may be surprising that the Google Wallet app does not currently offer support for fingerprint identification, it soon will. Although, how soon remains to be seen. In either case, once it does arrive, is activated (and fingerprint registered), the user will be able to forgo other means of identification and just use their fingerprint to authorize a Google Wallet payment. As for the PIN support, it seems Google is looking to simplify the use of PINs with Google Wallet. By simplify, relieve the app of the need to make use of a Google Wallet specific PIN number. Instead, the app will soon allow those who have set up a universal Google Account PIN, to use that PIN as their PIN for Google Wallet. The idea being to limit the number of different PINs that need to be remembered – especially considering Google already offers a universal PIN option. This is the PIN which Google sometimes uses as an additional means to identify a user when performing certain actions. Like for instance, approving a Google Play purchase.
Besides the ‘on the way’ security changes, there does not seem to be anything tangible to note at the user level in the latest version of the Google Wallet app. For reference, this is the current version of the app (version 20) which is already available through the Google Play Store. Therefore, if you already have the app installed on your smartphone, the chances are good that the update is already on its way to the device, if it has not arrived already.