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Google moves Wallet to cloud, adds more cards to offering

Google Wallet

In an attempt to ignite take up of its m-wallet offering, Google has launched a cloud-based version of its wallet for its US users. As a result, users can now add Visa, American Express and Discover credit and debit cards, as well as MasterCard, to their wallet.

Take-up of Google’s Wallet has been slow for a number of reasons. Despite 200,000 retail outlets across the US having payment terminals that allow users to make payments using the service, it  has been limited to just seven handsets, with only two carrier partners, Sprint and Virgin Mobile, supporting the service.

Now though, Google has changed its approach to storing payment cards, opting to store users’ bank details on its own servers rather than on the secure element on the handset.

In addition, Google Wallet users can now add a wider range of credit or debit cards to their wallet. When users add credit or debit cards to the Google Wallet mobile app, they will be issued a virtual MasterCard card by The Bancorp Bank, Google Wallet’s partnering bank.

When users activate their cards in Google Wallet, the cards are linked to the virtual MasterCard card. When they make an in-store purchase, Google facilitates the payment to the merchant for the purchase using the virtual MasterCard, and then charges the amount of the original purchase to the selected debit or credit card.

For these transactions, the merchant will not receive users’ credit or debit card credentials, instead, Google Wallet will present the virtual MasterCard card to the merchant.

“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,” explained Robin Dua, head of product management for Google Wallet.

“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.”


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