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11/2/2012
02:51 PM
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Google Wallet Gets Real

Soon, Google's electronic payment system will be available on a plastic card, too.

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Google reportedly is preparing to release a physical version of Google Wallet, its electronic payment system.

The Google Wallet Card is intended for circumstances when customers cannot use their software-based, mobile phone-bound Google Wallet, due to a merchant's lack of support for NFC payments. The website Android Police has published screenshots that show the unannounced Google Wallet Card and states that the card can be used where major credit and debit cards are accepted.

Google declined to comment.

Google Wallet stores credit and debit cards issued by payment card providers American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. It presently exists as an Android app and it recently became a cloud service: On Thursday, Google introduced Google Wallet for online commerce, a payment mechanism that stores Wallet credentials in the cloud after an initial purchase, so subsequent purchases can be made without re-entering personal or payment information.

[ Read Mozilla: Don't Abandon Web For Native Mobile Apps. ]

Google did so because so many mobile shoppers — as many as 97%, according to e-commerce consultancy SeeWhy — abandon their virtual shopping carts before completing their transactions. Presumably, streamlining the process so that purchases can be completed in just three steps will lead to a greater number of successful transactions.

Google is working with several online merchants, including 1-800-Flowers.com, Finish Line, FiveGuys.com MovieTickets.com, Seamless, SwimOutlet.com and Rockport.com, to implement its streamlined Web payment process.

The Google Wallet Card appears to be designed to serve as a physical proxy for the default credit or debit payment card that the user has set. For example, if the user has stored an American Express card and a Visa card in Google Wallet and set the Visa card as the default, any purchase made with the Google Wallet card will be charged to the Visa card.

The screenshots posted on the Android Police website indicate that Google Wallet also will gain new features: the ability to withdraw money from, or add money to, a bank account; the ability to send money via email; and the ability to store transit cards such as Los Angeles County's Transit Access Pass.

Google appears to be pursuing a strategy with Google Wallet that mirrors its strategy with Google Voice. Just as Google Voice is as a meta-phone number that connects to existing device- or place-bound phone numbers, Google Wallet is a meta-payment number that connects to existing payment cards. As such, it cannot be excluded from other mobile platforms or left unsupported by mobile carriers who are more interested in promoting their own mobile payment system than in seeing a competitor's system gain traction.

Time to patch your security policy to address people bringing their own mobile devices to work. Also in the new Holes In BYOD issue of Dark Reading: Metasploit creator HD Moore has five practical security tips for business travelers. (Free registration required.)

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ClayManBob
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ClayManBob,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/3/2012 | 8:36:03 PM
re: Google Wallet Gets Real
Great, something else to carry around. How about if I just carry my one card in my wallet for when needed?
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
11/4/2012 | 8:42:02 AM
re: Google Wallet Gets Real
Congratulations, you completely and ironically missed the point!
SES21
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SES21,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/4/2012 | 7:59:46 PM
re: Google Wallet Gets Real
Google Wallet "as a cloud service" has actually existed for quite some time; it simply used to be called Google Checkout instead. Now Wallet is for purchasers & Checkout is for sellers but it's just 2-sides of the same coin. I first used Checkout as a buyer back in 2006! Google just hasn't done a good job of promoting Checkout online so not many payees made it available to use. That's all changing due to increased visibility from mobile use. The physical card is not just to overcome the lack of NFC readers but also to make it easily available for people who don't have Android phones.

One nice thing about carrying a physical Google Wallet card instead of your regular credit/debit cards will be that, if your wallet is lost or stolen, you only have to cancel your Wallet card & not all the credit/debit cards connected to it!
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