- Internet search giant Google has joined the OpenWallet Foundation, according to an Aug. 23 press release. OWF launched six months ago with the goal of creating open source software for interoperable digital wallets.
- “We look forward to working closely with other OWF members to advocate for solutions that ensure we’re building a privacy-forward wallet for everyone,” Google Wallet Vice President Jenny Cheng said in the release.
- Google is the first big tech company to join the foundation. Other sponsors include card companies Visa and American Express, as well as consulting firm Accenture.
Digital wallets are now the world’s most popular method for e-commerce and point-of-sale retail payments, according to a 2023 report by payments technology company FIS.
OWF is a project backed by the Linux Foundation, a non-profit tech consortium started in 2000. The foundation creates standards for internet software and promotes open source software projects. Members of the Linux Foundation include tech giants Meta, Microsoft, Google and Amazon.
The OpenWallet Foundation believes that in the future people will have multiple digital wallets for multiple use cases such as payments, identification and access, according to a report it published earlier this year. The foundation is set up to help those different wallets meet common standards and be able to communicate with each other.
“I am convinced everyone, from start ups to giant corporations to governments to all of us as users, will benefit from secure interoperable wallets and that open source software is a great lever to get there more quickly,” OWF Executive Director Daniel Goldscheider said in an email to Payments Dive.
There is already some evidence to suggest consumers will want a more interconnected digital wallet future. A 2023 survey by Visa found that nearly 37% of commuters would take more trips each day if they could pay for all of them with a single payment method. That same survey found that 94% of riders expect public transit to offer contactless payments.
Google has spent 2023 building out the identification and access parts of its wallet. In June, it announced that it was adding the ability to digitize health insurance cards, state IDs, airline tickets and other barcode and QR-code-based cards.
It has also been expanding its reach. Earlier this month it partnered with Nelo, a Mexican payments platform. And earlier this week, the Mountain View, California-based tech giant said in an online post that it’s expanding Google Wallet to five new markets: Colombia, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, The Isle of Man and the Republic of San Marino.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct a misspelling of OpenWallet Foundation’s name.