Google Wallet is finally going to get support for fingerprint scanning in a new update.
As Android Police notes in its breakdown of code in Google’s new Android application package for developers, the fingerprint scanning feature will arrive along with a change to the PIN system currently in place: At the moment, the Google Wallet app requires its own PIN, but it appears that the version 2.0 update will replace it with the Google Account PIN, which can be used for other kinds of Google services.
In a sense, that would seem to make the app’s security weaker, since the same PIN will now apply across multiple use cases, exposing them all if it is hacked. Accordingly, it looks like Google is going to let users stop using the PIN entirely. Presumably, the idea is that biometric security will more than make up for the PIN’s absence, though it isn’t yet clear if fingerprint security will be required for users who want to turn off the PIN.
The approach here appears to be somewhat in keeping with Google’s security on Android Pay, its mobile payment platform. Unlike its rivals Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, Android Pay doesn’t require biometric authentication for purchases, relying instead on PINs or patterns. But with the forthcoming update, it looks like Google is heading in the direction of biometric security.