Google Wallet Now Holds All Major Credit Cards
August 2, 2012

Google Wallet Now Supports All Major Credit, Debit Cards

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

When paying for goods or services, the question years ago was cash or check, and more recently has become cash, credit or debit. Soon it could be cash or handset?

Google Wallet is opening the way people could pay for those goods or services and on Wednesday the search giant announced that the Google Wallet will support all major credit and debit cards.

Additionally the Google Wallet is opening to the clouds.

The cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app will reportedly support credit and debit cards from issuers including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. For those still using Diner´s Club it might be time to think about what century this is.

Those who take advantage of the app will be able to pull up all in-store on online purchases made with the wallet, which can help those who tend to confess to be a shopaholic.

Consumers will be able to use any major card when shopping in-stores or online with Google Wallet. And all information is now in the cloud as opposed to on the handset.

“To support all credit and debit cards, we changed our technical approach to storing payment cards,” said Robin Dua, head of Product Management for the Google Wallet team in a blog post on Wednesday. “The Google Wallet app now stores your payment cards on highly secure Google servers, instead of in the secure storage area on your phone. A wallet ID (virtual card number) is stored in the secure storage area of the phone, and this is used to facilitate transactions at the point of sale. Google instantly charges your selected credit or debit card. This new approach speeds up the integration process for banks so they can add their cards to the Wallet app in just a few weeks.”

Google Wallet, which debuted last year, takes advantage of the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology that allows users to merely wave the handset near a scanner to pay for devices. The upgraded version of the app ensures that users will have the ability to disable their mobile wallet apps from an online portal should a phone be lost or stolen. To further ensure security the Google Wallet app features a pin number to access it, while Google advises users to utilize a screen lock for their handsets as well to provide an added layer of security.

There is also the ability, at least if users can establish a connection to the handset, to have the app and transaction history wiped from the device.

Even with this new support for major credit cards the usage of Google Wallet isn´t likely to take off akin to a “cavalry charge” just yet. As it does require the NFC only a handful of handsets can actually be used with it. Currently six handsets from Sprint and Virgin Mobile, including the Galaxy Nexus, LG Viper, LG Optimus, HTC Evo 4G, Samsung Galaxy SIII, as well as the new Nexus 7 tablet actually support the app to date — but that number is growing.

Google has so far partnered with 25 national retailers, and the program works as part of MasterCard´s PayPass, which allows users to pay with a  handset at more than 200,000 retail locations in the United States.