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Google's Wallet apps now handle your gift cards

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 16, 2014
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Gift cards are supposed to be pleasant surprises, but they can frequently be headaches; assuming you remember to bring them in the first place, you have to keep tabs on any leftover credit. They should be easier to manage after today, though. Google has just rolled gift card support into the Wallet apps for both Android and iOS. All you have to do is either snap a photo of a card or type in its info. After that, you can safely leave the plastic at home. Some merchants, such as AMC, Best Buy and Whole Foods, will also show the remaining balance on their cards.

If you aren't fortunate enough to have any gift credits on hand, don't fret -- there are a few upgrades for people who still have to pay with their own money. You can now ask for payments from friends through either the app or Gmail, and you can send your own payments using a debit card. Spanish-language users will also be glad to know that the app now works in their native tongue. The new features are US-only at the moment, but we wouldn't rule out expanded availability in the long run.

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