Google has announced some fairly major changes to its Wallet mobile payment system.
Firstly, it has announced that it will now accept cards from Visa, American Express and Discover. In order to do this, and to improve the speed of future integrations, they’ve moved the security of the system away from individuals’ Android phones, and on to their secure servers.
â€œTo 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.â€
This new way of securing Google Wallet means that only a “virtual credit card number” is kept in the secure area of your phone, but of course also means handing over your credit card numbers to Google for them to look after, which will no doubt scare some people.
Google have also developed a remote wipe feature, meaning that should you lose your phone, you can go to the Google Wallet web interface and disable the device from afar (as long as it can connect to the device).
If you trust Google’s security, these developments are good news; opening up to more credit card providers will increase Wallet’s appeal and ease its takeup.
Just a couple of drawbacks. It’s still only available in the US, and the list of devices that it supports is pretty limited.
Here’s a new video giving an overview of Google Wallet: