Google Wallet is requiring PIN verification for every Wear OS watch tap-to-pay transaction

Google Wallet is requiring PIN verification for every Wear OS watch tap-to-pay transaction

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Wear OS users might soon need to jump through an extra hoop before paying with their watches. According to reports from some users, Google Wallet on Wear OS is prompting them to enter a PIN before completing a transaction, whereas this has not been required in the past.

Google has recently begun to require device unlocks for individual tap-to-pay transactions, a behavior that had been previously observed on smartphones. However, on Wear OS smartwatches this had been traditionally bypassed as long as your watch was already unlocked. When this changed and Wallet users using their watches began to be prompted for pin verification, they were reasonably surprised. 

However, while this change could be a slight annoyance for users who were accustomed to the simpler process, it might also indicate that Google is working on improving the security of Wear OS payments. After all, smartphones using Google Wallet already require users to verify their identity with a PIN or fingerprint scan after a period of inactivity. So, it’s possible that Google is planning to implement a similar security measure for Wear OS devices.

Unsurprisingly, Wear OS users aren’t exactly thrilled about the prospect of having to enter a PIN every time they want to pay for something with their watches. The convenience of contactless payments is a major selling point for wearable devices, and adding an extra step to the process could negatively impact the user experience.

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As of now, Google hasn’t officially confirmed whether a PIN requirement is being rolled out for Wear OS payments. As a matter of fact, as noted by Android Authority, Google’s support page on this doesn’t specifically call out Wear OS, and instead uses the more generic term “device” in its instructions for making payments with Google Wallet.

Because of this, it’s important to take these reports with a grain of salt, as this could very well end up being a bug. Hopefully, if this change does become official, we will hear more about it directly from Google, either via a blog post or an update to the support documentation.

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