Google seems to be working on bringing Wallet back in some form after it made the app part of Google Pay (via Android Police). According to Mishaal Rahman, the company is creating a Wallet interface for Google Play Services that will act as a way to access and manage your payment and transit cards, passes, rewards memberships, and more.
Currently, you manage most of these in Google Pay, and it seems likely that you’ll be able to get to the new Wallet UI from within that app, which Rahman says will still be used for contactless payments. It also appears that the cards you put into your Wallet will be accessible from elsewhere, as the screenshots show a link saying “learn how passes in your Wallet will appear across Google.”
Google Wallet started as Google’s NFC payment app in 2011, acting as a place for you to store payment cards digitally. Over its life, it evolved as a digital (and sometimes physical) payment service over the years to become sort of a Venmo competitor before it was folded together with Android pay to create Google Pay in 2018. That app has since been totally revamped, turning into much more than an app you use to send friends money and store your digital cards.
That transition has been confusing for some, and the fact that Google Pay is trying to handle everything related to payments (Google even planned on launching a banking service for it, but the project was scrapped) probably doesn’t help. If Google is bringing back Wallet as a separate location to manage your cards, it could help focus the Google Pay experience back towards paying at stores and sending friends money.