Google Pay Goes Material With Serious QoL Improvements

Google Pay Apr2019 tab view AH

Google Pay is now receiving an update that delivers consistency with the search giant’s other newly Material-redesigned apps and other changes meant that can summarily be placed under categorization as quality-of-life improvements.  The biggest difference in the card and money management application is the new aesthetic. That expands on Google’s use of bottom row tabs for navigation and its hollowed-out line-style iconography.

What’s with the new look?

Placed well within thumbs reach, users can now find a Home, Payment, Passes, and Send tab at the bottom of the UI. The first of those tabs does what its name implies. It provides a base of operations for viewing recent expenditures, updated walkthroughs for new or existing features, and nearby places where Google Pay can be used.


Intuitively, the Payment tab is a central control for payment method management, letting users add or remove cards or accounts.

The third tab is a bit different from the others and, as explained in the update log on the free application’s Google Play Store page, adds new functionality that wasn’t there before. Via integration with Gmail — activated on in the settings menu under the “General settings subheader — users can now bring over their loyalty cards, tickets, offers, and boarding passes for easy access within a single application.

After navigating to the Passes tab those will appear with a familiar mail-shaped icon in the top-right corner of the card, indicating those were pulled from Gmail. For cards specifically, those that aren’t ported over can be added manually via a quick tap on the blue “+Pass” button, selecting the card type, and then following on-screen prompts.


Google Pay will automatically populate a list of nearby locations with known cards to choose from depending on which type the user selects. Options include ‘Transit card’, ‘Loyalty program’, and ‘Gift card’.

Last but not least, the core capabilities of Google Pay, namely the ability to send and receive money, have been moved under the final “Send” tab. As of the update, users will have the added ability to split a bill from that tab among as many as five of their contacts via a group request initiated by a tap on a recent purchase. That effectively lets one person foot the bill for convenience before being reimbursed by friends or family.

Is this linked to the recently spotted IdentityCredential API?


The addition of a dedicated tab and importing for the various cards and credentials now found on the Passes tab is a fairly useful feature in its own right. It means users won’t need to search multiple apps or dig through a purse or wallet for those items. That change might also help pave the way for storing other items in the Google Pay app too if a recently spotted API is any indication.

Dubbed the IdentityCredential API and still in the very early stages, that would enable a user’s drivers license or similar identifying credentials to be stored much like a loyalty card or gift card. The legality and usability of that in the real world is unclear and another matter entirely but the addition of a new page that stores other cards could eventually lead to that capability.

Google Pay - Google Play Store