Google has quietly revealed it plans to retire the Google Wallet API for digital goods on March 2, 2015. The company plans to continue supporting the sale of apps on Google Play as well as in-app payments, but users will not be able to purchase any virtual items offered on the Web through Google Wallet.
We say “quietly” because there is no official announcement from Google. Furthermore, Google says it has no plans to proactively communicate the change to Google Wallet users; buyers will simply get 404 errors when trying to check out after support is pulled.
Google won’t be offering a replacement processing solution for digital goods on websites. As for an explanation for the sudden change, the company says that “the industry has matured a lot” since it first launched Google Wallet for digital goods, and there are now “a number of alternative payment solutions to choose from.”
For the time being, the Google Wallet Merchant Center will still offer full functionality such as canceling orders, refunding orders, viewing reports, and editing account settings. New orders will be rebuffed starting on March 2, 2015, but it’s not clear when the center will be turned off as well.
Here is what merchants need to know, taken from Google Wallet for digital goods Retirement:
- Process Payments until March 2: You can continue to process payments via Google Wallet for digital goods until we shut it off on March 2, 2015.
- Remove Integration: If you don’t have your own payment processing, you will need to transition to an alternate solution and remove calls to our APIs before March 2, 2015.
- Continued Merchant Center Access: You will continue to have access to the merchant center for processing refunds, getting payouts, and seeing reports.
Per that second point, Google is providing a guide to help developers remove Google Wallet code for digital goods. Though websites will still be able to process orders for the next three months or so, Google is urging developers to remove their Google Wallet integration and migrate to another payment processing solution to ensure their business isn’t affected (especially if they offer a subscription with recurring payments).
In short, you have to remove the client-side integration code, the server-side code that generates the JSON Web Token (JWT), and the server-side code that handles the postback. You can read the full instructions here: Removing an Existing Integration with Google Wallet for digital goods.
Google doesn’t list any alternative payment solutions (PayPal and Stripe come to mind). Instead, the company encourages merchants “to research payment processing solutions to best fit the needs of your buyers.” The Google Wallet API was first made available in June 2012.