Google’s latest development, Google Wallet, might be about to change the way we pay. Already available in over 140,000 merchants in the United States – and usable for online purchases – Google Wallet is being adopted. But is it really streamlining the payment process?
A free, downloadable app is all it takes to have your credit card information stored right on your Smartphone. (Currently, the product is only available for Android phones with NFC (near-field communication), or for customers on the Sprint network.) As for cards that can be used with Google Wallet, the only workable methods of payment are the Citi MasterCard® credit cards and the Google Prepaid Card. Plans are in the works to extend to any major credit card provider, however. (As of now, your PerkStreet MasterCard debit card is not an acceptable payment, but you can fund the Google Prepaid card with any other card, including your PerkStreet card, if you want to give Google Wallet a spin.)
Even if you’re using Google’s prepaid card, you won’t be using an actual credit card directly. You don’t have to carry it with you, anyway. Instead, a “virtual card” stays in your Smartphone. To pay, users simply touch their phone to the payment terminal, enter their PIN, and the money comes directly out of your account. (If you’re linking Google Wallet to a credit card, the charge goes directly to the provider as though the credit card were swiped.)
Use Google Wallet Online
Using Google Wallet online is equivalent to using PayPal. Sites that support the service will allow you to use Google Wallet instead of entering your credit card information. From the sounds of it, Google is looking for a united payment method, so customers can pay one way across numerous – potentially all – websites.
When money is involved, customers always want to know what companies are doing to keep it safe. Google protects consumers by transmitting payment credentials only after the user enters a PIN. A system called Secure Element protects credit card numbers and other sensitive data stored on your phone using with multiple levels of locks, anti-piracy and anti-hacking software.
Since the transactions work through normal credit card networks, the same laws apply to fraud and unauthorized use. Should someone get a hold of your PIN and make transactions in your name, the liability policies of your card provider would work just as they would if you were using a plastic card.
Get the Most Out of Google Wallet
Google knows that proliferating Google Wallet is the key to making it popular and successful in many markets. The company is doing what it can to entice customers to use the service, offering loyalty points, rewards and special offers throughout the payment system. (Look for them at stores like American Eagle Outfitters, Jamba Juice, and Macy’s.)
Google Wallet could be poised to shake up the competition in both online front and brick-and-mortar retail.
But Google Wallet can only become ubiquitous if consumers — you and me — want to use it and choose it over other options, like regular debit cards, credit cards, cash and even other mobile payment options currently emerging. So today, we put the question to you: Does Google Wallet seem like something you’d use if it were something you could load all the cards in your wallet into? Are you already using Google Wallet? Vote below.
Jessica Bosari is a PerkStreet Customer Columnist, as well as the Site Manager and Editor for billeater a blog with money-saving tips to lower your bills. When she’s not gathering money-saving tips, Jessica is feeding her geeky side with sci-fi movies, tech gadgets, useful apps and productivity tricks, just to keep things interesting. Read more of Jessica’s great financial advice on Perkstreet’s blog, or view her other money-saving tips at billeater.com.