Google Wallet goes cloud-based to support all major credit, debit cards

Summary:Google Wallet might have figured out the key to mass adoption: accept every major credit and debit card available.

Google Wallet is likely on a more mainstream path to wider adoption with U.S. consumers as the system is moving to the cloud, meaning it should be able to accept all major credit and debit cards.

Specifically, the new cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

Robin Dua, head of Product Management for the Google Wallet team, explained in a blog post that consumers can use any card when shopping in-store or online with Google Wallet.

To support all credit and debit cards, we changed our technical approach to storing payment cards. 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.

Furthermore, in the case of a lost or stolen smartphone, the upgraded version of Google Wallet ensures that users should be able to remotely disable their mobile wallet apps using an online portal. But the Google Wallet app continues to have a pin number for access to the app, and Google advises to have screen lock for the device overall on top of that as an extra layer of security.

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Google Wallet debuted in mid-2011, touted as an innovative yet incredibly simply way to pay for purchases using just a smartphone using NFC technology.

However, there were a few catches that hampered mass adoption with consumers and merchants as the mobile commerce platform only supported a few methods of payment, including Citi's MasterCard and a Google pre-paid card that can be reloaded by any existing credit cards, among other options that have been tacked on since.

Given that Google Wallet still depends on the requirement of the smartphone (or tablet, in the case of the Nexus 7) having NFC, it's still going to be awhile before Google Wallet becomes a standard procedure. Nevertheless, the addition of more payment options with the top four credit card companies in the world is a step in the right direction.

Image via The Google Commerce Blog

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Smartphones

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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