Powered by NFC technology, Google Wallet allows your phone to act as your credit card.
By tapping your phone (only Android at this time) against a compatible chip reader available with select shops, your payment information are transferred to the merchant without swiping any physical card.
Google Wallet in fact aiming for a plastic credit card extinction.
While the idea of combining your phone and your credit cards may be scary, Google Wallet, in theory, is more secure than a plastic card. If you haven’t used Wallet in the past 30 minutes or so (or if you manually lock it), a PIN is required to use Google Wallet app.
The Google Wallet is not a new innovation – the technology of just swiping a smart card over an NFC reader has been present since the 1990s, if you can imagine.
Germany has been using the NFC technology for quiet some time, albeit not with smartphones.
The innovation is integrating that function with a smart phone, and that is all there is to it. The smart phone is becoming more and more the gadget for all gadgets.
To use a credit card on Google Wallet, you first need to store the details of the card in Google Wallet app.
Where to use Google Wallet
The biggest drawback so far is the limited applicability. I guess in a few years NFC technology, whether from Google or from any other company, should become mainstream.
You can use Google Wallet only if all of the following are true
- You have Sprint as cell phone carrier
- You have Nexus 4s smart phone
- You installed Google Wallet App on your Nexus 4s
- The store or site you are shopping from accept master Card Pay Pass. Find out where
Paying with Your Google Wallet
First, you have to see the Google Wallet logo on the door of the merchant. If you don’t, then you won’t be able to use your Google Wallet even if you can still use your credit cards. And there is the next problem.
While the technology is more than a decade old, it is still one of those new-flanged things when it comes to the average salesperson. You will certainly see eyebrows raised when you pass by the checkout counter, tap your phone on the NFC reader, pick up your bill from a surprised cashier, then leave, still with eyebrows raised. The transaction is wireless, so unless you know what’s going on, you wouldn’t know what happened.
But that is the best case scenario. Sometimes, the process of paying with your Google Wallet doesn’t work, and it will raise eyebrows just a little bit higher. And since no one knows what is happening in the first place, you better have your credit cards at the ready, since that is how you will be paying if the process is experiencing some glitch or the other.
Currently, Google Wallet supports two kinds of credit cards: most Citi® PayPass™ eligible MasterCard® credit cards and the Google Prepaid Card.
Google promises to included all available credit cards eventually.
The Possibilities with Google Wallet
But imagine the possibilities as the Google Wallet becomes more reliable in transactions. Potentially, you can have an app that chooses the best credit card to use in any transaction you make. That alone should save you some money already. Long lines at the checkout counter can be a thing of the past – NFC readers can be available right at the shelves of the store, and can make the checkout counter obsolete.
Try to remember each time you pulled out your wallet, and then replace the whole process with just tapping your phone against an NFC reader. Even bank transactions can become wireless, regular payments easily scheduled, and for merchants and retailers, a more comprehensive set of information about you and your purchases.
And the best part is that the Google Wallet is not even a credit card. Well, you can have a virtual Google Wallet prepaid card where you can transfer funds, so that in case something goes wrong with the transaction with your credit card, the Google Wallet prepaid card comes in to save the day. But the Google Wallet in itself is not a credit card.
Security of Google Wallet
Believe it or not, Google Wallet is more secure than you actual wallet. Your credit card information which you store in Google wallet app, is stored in a hardware chip, not on the phone operating system. Not an easy task to break in to that.
By the time hackers get in to the stored card information, you’ll have ample time to alert your credit card company to cancel the card.
You need to use PIN for every transaction. So, just stealing your phone and using it for payment is not going to work instantly. The PIN has to be retrieved first.
Potential Problems with Google Wallet
The real problem with Google Wallet is going to be security.
Making all transactions virtual is the future, but until everyone is familiar with the technology, there are a lot of ways to lose your information, instead of making it convenient.
Not only merchants should be educated, but also card holders, and while the impetus is already there with the omnipresent smart phone, it is still going to take some time.
The biggest one though, is that you need to buy Nexus 4s phone from Sprint to be able to use Google Wallet, until they are expanded.
Conclusion on Google Wallet
Google Wallet is the mobile payment system I have always waited for. But, until more vendors, credit cards, and my iPhone are supported, I’ll wait and watch.
|Thank you for reading this article. If you like my blog, consider subscribing to Finance Product Reviews via RSS or email. You can also subscribe via Facebook or Twitter by clicking on those icons on the top. Thank you!|
Disclaimer: Finance Product Reviews is an independent website. Although we may have advertisement relationship with financial institution we review, they do not influence our decision or rating of products. Contents of this site are not provided by any financial institution, banks, brokerages or credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone and are not reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the product owners.