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So Long Plastic: Google Wallet Now Uses Any Credit Card

By - Source: Google | B 11 comments

Google Wallet has moved beyond MasterCard. Now it just needs more supporting devices.

On Wednesday, Google said that its Google Wallet payment service now supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Naturally there's a catch: Google Wallet is currently available only on selected phones from Sprint and Virgin Mobile, as well as the new Nexus 7 tablet. But that's ok: Google Wallet should be ready for prime-time use when NFC technology becomes a standard feature in every mobile device in the near future.

Previously the only way to use Google Wallet was to add a CitiBank MasterCard, a gift card from AEO, Bloomingdale's, Macy's, or The Container Store, or add a Google Prepaid Card. This is seemingly still the same when adding said cards to the Google Wallet app directly. To use any other card like Discover or American Express, Google has decided to add a "linked" feature that creates a virtual MasterCard to hide the user's credentials from merchants.

"When you add credit or debit cards to the Google Wallet mobile app, you will be issued a virtual MasterCard card by The Bancorp Bank, Google Wallet’s partnering bank," Google states. "This virtual MasterCard is referred to as the 'Google Wallet Virtual Card' in the Terms of Service. When you activate your credit or debit cards in Google Wallet, they are linked to the virtual MasterCard card. When you make an in-store purchase, Google Wallet facilitates payment to the merchant for your in-store purchase using the virtual MasterCard, then charges the amount of the original purchase to your selected debit or credit card."

For these transactions, Google Wallet will present the virtual MasterCard card to the merchant, thus transactions on the user's actual credit card statement will read a "Google *merchant name." If prompted by the cashier, users should state that they're "paying with credit" via MasterCard. The last four digits of the virtual MasterCard account can be found in the card details page of one of the linked cards.

"To support all credit and debit cards, we changed our technical approach to storing payment cards," said Robin Dua, Head of Product Management, Google Wallet. "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."

The updated Google Wallet also includes a new security feature that makes it possible to remotely disable the mobile wallet on a lost or stolen phone/tablet. Users simply log onto Google Wallet online, select the listed device, and hit the disable button. After that, Google Wallet will not authorize any transactions attempted with that device. If the Google Wallet online service can establish a connection to the device, it will remotely reset the mobile wallet, clearing it of card and transaction data.

Right now the only devices that support Google Wallet are the Samsung Nexus S (Sprint), the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Sprint), the Samsung Galaxy Nexus GSM/HSPA+ (Google), the Samsung Galaxy S3 (Sprint), the LG Viper 4G LTE (Sprint), the LG Optimus Elite (Sprint, Virgin Mobile), and the HTC EVO 4G LTE (Sprint). The just-released Nexus 7 tablet also supports Google Wallet although we had to force-install the update via Google Play online in order to upgrade the actual tablet app.

So far supporting merchants include Toys"R"Us, Old Navy, OfficeMax, CVS/pharmacy, RadioShack and many more, depending on the location.

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  • 1 Hide
    amdwilliam1985 , August 2, 2012 9:15 PM
    I got the 8GB N7, and I have no problem installing Google Wallet from the Play store, might be due to 4.1.1.

    I just activated my wallet today, I was waiting for it to support VISA, and i love the fact that Google gives me $10 credit.

    Read through google.com/wallet, it seems like it is accepted anywhere where they're taking Paypass, I'm going to give it a try at my local chain grocery store tonight :) 
  • 4 Hide
    axiler , August 2, 2012 9:36 PM
    Not sure I quite like giving my credit card info to google..
  • -5 Hide
    geeksinhere23 , August 2, 2012 9:44 PM
    paypal is what I use to pay most of my online payment now a day. is hackable like every creditcard but is traceable for every transaction. and is more guarantee that you will get your refund back if you dispute for the bad item. just my 2cent.
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , August 2, 2012 10:21 PM
    I prefer cash. I'm old school like that, also no one knows what I'm spending money on.
  • 1 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 2, 2012 10:25 PM
    geeksinhere23paypal is what I use to pay most of my online payment now a day. is hackable like every creditcard but is traceable for every transaction. and is more guarantee that you will get your refund back if you dispute for the bad item. just my 2cent.


    Paypal is horrible, I personally know of many people that have had their accounts seized for selling items that were legal. Point and case would be used autocad and office disk's with cd key. Even though the courts stated it was legal to resell them, one complaint from a major company and your paypal account gets frozen and funds seized seized with little to no recourse for the end user to recover their funds.

    At least with a credit card, your not loosing your money if it gets abused by a third party. This is why the credit card companies take fraud so seriously, because they have to pay it not the consumer. I am very happy with google wallet for making payments / purchases, and square up for taking them. PayPal used to be great, but has gone down the toilet over the last 5 years.
  • 0 Hide
    N.Broekhuijsen , August 2, 2012 10:57 PM
    May I be so blunt to say that my phone is still made of plastic?
  • -2 Hide
    Shin-san , August 2, 2012 11:31 PM
    axilerNot sure I quite like giving my credit card info to google..

    I'm feeling the same. The ex-CEO said something along of the lines that there is no privacy

    geeksinhere23paypal is what I use to pay most of my online payment now a day. is hackable like every creditcard but is traceable for every transaction. and is more guarantee that you will get your refund back if you dispute for the bad item. just my 2cent.
    I don't know why you are getting the thumbs down, even though I agree with the others about Paypal being evil. I still use it if it's not on an established site like Amazon or Newegg.

    The problem is that I basically can do $2,000 of transactions before I end up having to cancel and sign up again, unless I give them my checking account number. I have problems giving out my CC # as it is, which is the whole bloody point of Paypal, and a huge reason to use credit cards!
  • 0 Hide
    velocityg4 , August 3, 2012 4:35 AM
    Current credit cards are fine. Just drop the RFID crap so that thieves can't read them in your wallet. Is it really that difficult to swipe through the reader? If you want something you can wave in front of the reader then make them with bar codes and cover with a thin laminate to protect from wear.

    Also I don't really want Google to make money off every purchase I make. Then record that data for ad placement.
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , August 3, 2012 12:46 PM
    geeksinhere23paypal is what I use to pay most of my online payment now a day. is hackable like every creditcard but is traceable for every transaction. and is more guarantee that you will get your refund back if you dispute for the bad item. just my 2cent.

    ^^^NOT this
    dalethepcmanPaypal is horrible, I personally know of many people that have had their accounts seized for selling items that were legal. Point and case would be used autocad and office disk's with cd key. Even though the courts stated it was legal to resell them, one complaint from a major company and your paypal account gets frozen and funds seized seized with little to no recourse for the end user to recover their funds.At least with a credit card, your not loosing your money if it gets abused by a third party. This is why the credit card companies take fraud so seriously, because they have to pay it not the consumer. I am very happy with google wallet for making payments / purchases, and square up for taking them. PayPal used to be great, but has gone down the toilet over the last 5 years.

    ^^^ This. I can't believe that to-date, paypal is allowed to withhold finances from individuals essentially arbitrarily, for an arbitrary amount of time, and yet is not recognized as a financial institution (and as such, not upheld to the same rules, regulations, and audit process that actual financial institutions are). Anyone who continues to use paypal is just sitting on a ticking timebomb waiting for their account to be frozen for some inane (and difficult-to-get from paypal) reason. Not to mention that google wallet can be used for physical transactions, so paypal is a pretty irrelevant comparison.

    I did open and set up the google wallet app on my phone, but I haven't used it for payment yet. There were initial concerns from some early adopters about their credit card flagging the set-up and 1st payment process through google wallet as a fraudulent charge, but apparently that boiled down to the individual's bank, not google wallet.

    Curious how widely this gets adopted. I don't even know how many businesses around me use the POS transaction modules.
  • 0 Hide
    amdwilliam1985 , August 3, 2012 1:46 PM
    amdwilliam1985I got the 8GB N7, and I have no problem installing Google Wallet from the Play store, might be due to 4.1.1.I just activated my wallet today, I was waiting for it to support VISA, and i love the fact that Google gives me $10 credit.Read through google.com/wallet, it seems like it is accepted anywhere where they're taking Paypass, I'm going to give it a try at my local chain grocery store tonight


    Made a transaction last night in the local store, it was kind of awkward, but it was also awesome...
    Literary the biggest wallet in the world, haha(thank you google for the drinks).
    Still got a few $ left in my free credit.

    As for privacy concern, I used google checkout before for the $10 off deals back then when it was first introduced. So far all my credits are in tact ;) 
    Since we need to give our credit info to someone, I rather give it to Google, they're the only ones I trusted(next in line is Amazon).
  • 0 Hide
    pscgod , August 5, 2012 1:43 AM
    just go ahead and install the google approved chip into my hand and lets get this over with. sure there will be a small increase in hands being chopped off but its a small step in googles world dominance