Google Wallet promised to replace physical wallets with a virtual wallet that can be accessed from your Android phone. However, the momentum has been slow in the U.S. because carriers are trying their best to avoid using it on the handsets they sell, because they are preparing their own competing solution called Isis. The only carriers in the U.S. that have been friendly to Google Wallet are Sprint and Virgin Mobile, which have adopted a total of six Google Wallet-enabled phones. The Nexus 7 tablet also comes with Google Wallet support.
Google Wallet has also experienced some security issues initially, and Verizon has even claimed that the reason they are not embracing it is because it’s not secure enough – although I still think the main reason for rejecting it was its own payment system, Isis.
Today, Google is announcing a new version of Google Wallet, one that is powered by the cloud and dramatically increases security by keeping your credit card information stored only on Google’s highly secure servers instead of your own device. The phones will be getting a virtual card number that is tied to the real one, and will be stored in the secure area of your phone. This will help ensure that the transaction process works smoothly, but without compromising on security.
Google Wallet has always required a PIN so only you can have access to it. But now, in case your phone is stolen or lost, you’ll be able to remotely disable the Google Wallet functionality on that device. In such a scenario, no more transactions will be authorized from that handset.
One of the biggest improvements in Google Wallet is that you can now add any credit card or debit card from various providers including Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. To save a card’s information to Google Wallet you’ll have to use the mobile app or the official website to complete the form and sign-up.
Having a Google Wallet account also allows you to buy any sort of content from the Google Play Store, so even if you don’t have an NFC-enabled phone, you may still want to use Google Wallet for purchases from the Play Store.