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

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.


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

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  • Pre-existing knowledge?

    Like you stories Rachel, this one I have one major problem with. You wrote it like everyone who reads it has a pre-existing knowledge of what your talking about.
    I do read numerous articles daily on Tech subjects but this is news to me.
    Exactly how would I pull out my iPhone 3gs and pay for something? What retailers are supporting this etc.
    • Pre-existing knowledge


      In order to use Google Wallet you would need a phone that supports NFC (Near Field Communications) which the iPhone 3GS does not. There are only a few that currently support NFC.
  • Pre-existing knowledge?

    Like you stories Rachel, this one I have one major problem with. You wrote it like everyone who reads it has a pre-existing knowledge of what your talking about.
    I do read numerous articles daily on Tech subjects but this is news to me.
    Exactly how would I pull out my iPhone 3gs and pay for something? What retailers are supporting this etc.
    • I believe a variation of this technology..

      is how 3rd world countries do business without a US style banking system. We are just behind the curve a bit. Ever heard of NFC? Seems to me the credit card companies want to keep those transactions to them selves. Only a matter of time. Already we have the ability here to photo a check for deposit purposes. I remember when JPN was years ahead of us in ATM technology. Somehow we caught up.
      • Typing complete words

        Is it really so difficult to type Japan if that is what you mean?
        Hang-em, Hang-em high!
  • Skimming ?

    Can you go into the dangers of NFC skimmers with Google Wallet ? It would seem to me than an extra layer of protection that might help avoid skimmers if for the NFC to be able to detect if there is more than one Payment device in the vicinity. Not sure if that could be accomplished. Some may say this isn't necessary, but ATM machines have been known to have Skimmers added to them that Read Card information as it is being inserted into devices. Hopefully, we have a method of securing the NFC communications at the time the NFC is brought into use by the payment device.
    • NFC Confirmations

      The easiest way to secure NFC is to require some manual input/confirmation (press button, type in pin, etc) on the mobile before NFC is usable / activated.

      For instance, transferring files between two mobiles using Google's NFC beam, requires one user to press their screen to verify what they want to transfer, even though NFC knows its already found a compatible device to transfer with.
    • Def Con

      I think hackers at Def Con found only one flaw in the system and said that this flaw would work only if the device is in a state that would never happen in the wild. I don't know much more, but you could check articles about Def Con if the subject interest you.
    • requirements ..

      No. First the NFC device isn't active until you have 1) woken your phone up and 2) unlocked the screen.

      Secondly, the Google Wallet system cannot perform a transaction unless it has been unlocked with the PIN in the last x mins (you define x in the settings)

      Skimming is almost impossible with these requirements.
  • Pay with Square does this

    Pay with Square does something similar to this already, Google is learning from them. I can go to my local diner, open a tab on my phone, and the diner can charge my Square account, which charges a synchronized card on my account that I have used with the Diner before.

    It really is awesome. As long as I have my tab open I can get charged, add tip, and accept payment without even presenting anything but my name.

    Pay with Square requires cloud access, which only makes sense. Storing local data on the client end is highly insecure for any platform. Even remote systems have security problems but not near as much opportunity for hacking and cracking as storing credit info on your mobile itself.
  • Open Sales Systems, not monopoly is Google's Goal

    Every time Google introduces pace setting features some say Google is being evil.
    When Google opens its features to any secure App others say Google was forced to play fair.

    Not so. Google NFC is just Google being Google. Helping get better tech sooner to everyone.
  • Lack of Phone Support

    Google Wallet only supports a few phones, so it is virtually useless in most cases, even if your phone has NFC capabilities. They only support a specific chip protocol, which very few phones have. To make it worse, one phone that is supported, The Samsung Galaxy Nexus, is being blocked at the carrier level by Verizon because they are working on their own NFC payment system called ISIS. NFC is nice, but until we get some real standardization and not multiple agendas, it's a waste of time.
    • You can only expect so much from Google.

      Google supports Google wallet on every Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S. If you don't like Verizon hacking up your device, stop buying your phone from Verizon. But it from the Google Play store, and then go to carrier not hellbent on screwing you over.
  • Adoption..

    I'm generally a quick adopter of new tech, but this one where I will wait. I most definitely need more information. Even then, it would need to be mainstream for a year or two before I even considering putting my credit cards on my phone.

    Interesting concept though. Credsticks anyone? :)
    • No proven security to back up the project

      Until it is proven that it is secure, I would stay the hell away from it.

      It is bad enough that I now have to use a metallic wallet ... just because all my credit cards are NFC enabled .....
      • lmao

        paranoid much
        Scarface Claw
  • Great Party Trick

    At school we have a few NFC-enabled pop machines and my friends love watching my wave my phone like a magic wand to pay. Nice that I won't have to rely on the Google prepaid card much longer.
  • No Way

    Until Google actually offers support for purchases where the vendor doesn't follow through and send the item, I'm not doing any business through them, Cloud or no.

    PayPal gives me resolution options, Amazon does as well. But when a retailer shirks you via Google, the best you can do is go through your bank or credit card company to stop payment--usually for a high fee. As a poor college student living in a state where goods and services are few, I do most of my shopping online by necessity. Only once have I made a purchase through Google, never again.

    I also wonder why it matters what Google does or doesn't do. Google Shopping is becoming a paid advertisement site, which means you won't be getting the lowest prices for your results. No savings = no shopping. No support = no shopping.

    Not a difficult equation at all.
  • Google wallet is horrible for vendors! and clients also

    My Experience as a vendor selling using Google Wallet-- Google wallet is ranked third for a very good reason.
    No support
    what support their is - is clueless
    no reduction in card fees for lesser service
    inability for me to do a manual charge from a customer
    Registration is not intuitive for non IT users.

    I wish I had never listened to my web designer to use Google wallet. Moving to Paypal as quick as I can.
    • Google wallet support GREAT

      I got a Nexus S 4G, that was the first phone to offer NFC. And I got the Google Wallet when it first came out. I had a problem and I emailed for support. They called me back in about 5 mins.
      They were VERY helpful.