Google Wallet Discontinues Prepaid Card to Focus on Securer NFC Technology
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Not long ago, many people couldn´t contain their excitement over the possibility of an NFC-enabled iPhone. These same people believed that an Apple solution to NFC and mobile payments could completely take over the industry and revolutionize the way we pay for baseball tickets, coffee and everything in between.
While there´s nothing wrong with dreaming, it is important to remember that another company, Google, has been offering this service for nearly a year. Google Wallet works with NFC-enabled Android phones and gives users the ability to pay with their phones anywhere they see that black NFC receiver at the checkout stand.
Yesterday, Google announced that they´ll soon be moving on from the initial training-wheels phase of the feature, terminating the prepaid card program which enabled users to bring their money into a paperless, plastic-less world.
When Google Wallet first rolled out last year, the service had only one third-party partner in Citi Mastercard. For those without one of these cards, Google created the Google pre-paid card. Users could load up this Google card with money from their existing credit cards, allowing them to make purchases on their phones.
Although they only had one partner at launch, Google mentioned that they had plans to support American Express, Discover and Visa in the future.
Beginning next week on September 17, 2012, Google Wallet users will no longer be able to load up their prepaid cards or add new prepaid cards to a new device, said Google in a statement.
On October 17, the prepaid cards will simply vanish from smartphones everywhere, along with any remaining balances. Google has said, however, that users will be able to request a refund if they aren´t able to deplete their cards by October.
According to Google, these prepaid cards have worn out their use, as users can now use any credit or debit card with Google Wallet to conduct NFC purchases with compatible merchants.
In an August 1 blog post, Google announced this new improvement, saying: “Today we´re releasing a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Now, you can use any card when you shop in-store or online with Google Wallet. With the new version, you can also remotely disable your mobile wallet app from your Google Wallet account on the web.”
In order to integrate this compatibility into their mobile payment app, Google has changed the way they store card information. Rather than store card data locally on the phone, Google stores it on their servers. Instead of remembering card numbers, the phone stores a secure Wallet ID, which acts as a key to the Google servers, allowing it to process payments.
Google also rolled out a feature which gives users the ability to remotely disable any Wallet stored on any device should their phones go missing or stolen. When a Wallet is disabled, Google will not authorize any transaction made with the Wallet ID or device until the user has restored their account.
Further still, Google says that they´ll erase any Wallet data from a missing device if they´re able, removing any sensitive information such as card and transaction data.
If you have any left over cash on your Google pre paid card, perhaps now is a good time to find a coffee shop which allows mobile payments.