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Google Wallet now available for virtually all Android phones and every US carrier

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Google Wallet stock
Google Wallet stock

Google Wallet for Android will see a major update today that widely expands availability of the mobile payment service. It will now be available for all devices running Android 2.3 and up — regardless of whether or not they've got NFC functionality built in. That's because Google is yet again broadening what users can do with Wallet. First, it's taking PayPal head on with direct money transfers. With the new update, you'll be able to transfer cash to anyone with an email address in the US once you've linked a bank account to the service. Funds can also come from your current Google Wallet balance, but using a debit or credit card to make payments will result in extra fees. Google previously explored direct mobile payments by enabling money transfers over Gmail.

Loyalty cards from retailers can also be added to Wallet simply by scanning or entering the bar code on the back of each card. Perhaps most important of all, with the update (rolling out to users this week), Google Wallet will finally be available on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. But according to All Things D, you won't necessarily be able to make NFC-based payments on those carriers — likely thanks to their affiliation with competing platform Isis. Instead, support for in-store payments will remain limited to devices that already support the option.