Better Than a Wallet
Google Wallet is Google’s mobile payment service.

A day where you will no longer need a wallet is coming. You can already make one-click mobile payments with Google Wallet, an Android and iPhone app. The service aims to be better than a wallet by allowing you to store credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards in the cloud for use via your smartphone. Google Wallet does not charge users or merchants to process payments. Instead, they aim to generate revenue by offering sponsored advertisements.Wikipedia

To use the service you need an NFC-equipped smart phone to securely process transactions, a carrier that allows Google Wallet, and a pay station that is compatible with Google Wallet. This has retailers everywhere gearing up with NFC-compatible pay stations. Even NJ Transit has hopped on the Google Wallet train.NJTransit

Watch the Official Overview

Where Can You Use It? Almost Nowhere.

Google Wallet has a partnership with MasterCard and a licensing agreement with Visa. This means you can use Google Wallet at any Visa PayWave or MasterCard PayPass location. The agreement with MasterCard gives Google Wallet users access to over 300,000 MasterCard PayPass locations. We are not entirely sure what the licensing agreement with Visa PayWave means for Google Wallet users; the list of merchants supported by Visa looks exactly the same as MasterCard’s list. Perhaps Google’s agreement with Visa is a hint at future internationalization.

Use the Google Wallet location finder to see the footprint in your area.

Google Wallet location infographic
Screenshot of the Google Wallet location finder.

Rewards Make it Better than a Wallet

You can earn rewards with Google Wallet. Pay with your smart phone and save. This works at “SingleTap” merchants, what Google calls their partners. Google uses GPS to bring coupons and real-time offers for these locations. If there were blue markers on the above map, that would indicate a SingleTap location. At these SingleTap locations, promotions and coupons that you opt-in for online via the Google Wallet web app are automatically applied.

Google Wallet SingleTap locations
List of stores that support Google SingleTap.

They have a new version coming.BusinessInsider Google has been doing a good job keeping its feature set secret though. There are reports that you might be able to link a physical credit card to your account.AndroidPolice With this, Google Wallet is one step closer to being better than a wallet.

What security features does Google Wallet offer?

  • PIN required to open the payment app
  • You can remotely disable the app at wallet.google.com/manage
  • Transaction encryption so neither the Android/iPhone operating system or the merchant has your information
  • Never displays credit card information
  • Does not share the credit and debit card info you store in your wallet with any merchant online or offline

Everyone Except the Consumer Wants Google Wallet to Fail

Fierce competition lies ahead for Google if they want to fortify their position in the mobile payment market. The three biggest phone carriers in the United States are blocking Google Wallet. They are all supporting a platform named ISIS instead.

To add to Google’s miseries, some of the nation’s largest retailers are not accepting Google Wallet payments. These retailers include Wal-Mart, Target, and over a dozen other Fortune 500 companies. Instead, they are in the process of launching another mobile payment platform called Merchant Consumer Exchange.