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Google Wallet update lets you scan in your loyalty cards more easily

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Google Wallet Card promo
Google Wallet Card promo

Google Wallet has long let you store physical loyalty cards inside its app, but having to type in a long series of numbers likely discouraged people from adding them. An update that rolled out on iOS today (and on Android last week) uses your smartphone's camera to take a picture of the barcode and then adds the loyalty card to your digital wallet. The app can also alert you via push notification when you pass by a store where you have enrolled in the loyalty program.

Those notifications could get annoying in a hurry, depending on how frequently the app sends them your way. But given how often people abandon their loyalty programs, it could also help people get the rewards they dreamed of getting when they first signed up for a card. Google Wallet is a famously troubled product, but today's updates make it a bit more useful.