43 Things You Should Know About Google Wallet

By: Chris Crum - May 27, 2011

This week, Google introduced Google Wallet, which could either be representative of the future of how we pay for things and organize our daily lives or a massive bust. Time will tell. In the meantime, we’ve compiled a great deal of information about the product, and what’s known about it before its true launch.

Share your thoughts about Google Wallet with us in the comments.

Here is what you need to know about google Wallet:

1. Google Wallet stores virtual versions of credit cards and coupons on a phone.

2. It will also store loyalty and gift cards in the future.

3. Google Wallet is a free app.

4. Google Wallet is separate from Google Checkout, and can be thought of as the brick-and-mortar counterpart to the online payment nature of Google Checkout

5. Google Wallet uses Near Field Communication to allow consumers to make contactless payments.

6. Google Wallet is currently field testing, but will become available to consumers this summer.

7. At first, Google Wallet will only be available on the Nexus S 4G by Google from Sprint, but Google will expand it to other devices/platforms in time.

8. Citi, MasterCard, First Data, and Sprint are launch partners for Google Wallet.

9. Google is also partnering with point of sale systems companies, including Verifone, Hypercom, Ingenico, and ViVOTech, to “introduce rich interaction between Google Wallet and the point of sale.”

10. Google says it continues to partner with issuing banks, payment networks, point of sale systems, semiconductor companies, mobile handset manufacturers, mobile operators and merchants on Google Wallet-related elements.

11. Google is being sued by PayPal, who had two executives leave for Google. More on this here.

12. If you want to be notified about Google Wallet availability and product updates, you can give Google your email address here.

13. Google Wallet will support Citi PayPass eligible MasterCard credit cards and the Google prepaid card upon launch, but will support more in the future.

14. Users can pay with Google Wallet anywhere MasterCard PayPass is accepted.

15. Users can tap their phones on the merchant’s PayPass terminal to transmit payment details.

16. You don’t have to have a network connection to make a payment.

17. You can’t use Google Wallet if your phone battery is dead.

18. Currently, when a user adds their Citi MasterCard to Google Wallet, they can immediately spend up to $100, but to access their full line of credit, they’ll have to wait for Citi to send an activation code to enter into Google Wallet.

19. Google has very ambitious goals for Google Wallet, saying one day it may store your boarding passes, ID, and even keys.

20. Google Wallet will sync to your Google Offers (Google’s recently launched Groupon competitor, which it also intends to integrate into other Google products like Search, Latitude, Maps, and Shopper.

21. According to reports, there will be stickers that customers can put on any device that can hold the information for one card, and when tapped on an NFC device, would work with Google to handle payments.

Security and Privacy Concerns

22. If your phone with Google Wallet is lost or stolen, Google says you should contact your credit card company for assistance, and that you should report your phone lost/stolen and basically take the same precautions you would have anyway.

23. Google Wallet will allow you to remove all cards from your phone by resetting it (which also removes all transaction data).

24. Google says it protects your payment credentials by storing them in a chip called the “Secure Element” that is contained within the Nexus S 4G, and is isolated from the phone’s main OS and hardware. Google does not say how this will be addressed with other devices. That’s probably for the manufacturers to determine.

25. Google does enforce a PIN number.

26. In terms of the possibility of a malicious app accessing your credit card, Google says, “Both the Android platform and the Secure Element are designed to prevent this from happening. Android enforces strict access policies so that malicious applications wouldn’t have access to data stored by Google Wallet. Even Google Wallet itself has very limited access to the Secure Element, and cannot read or write data from its memory. There are multiple levels of protection for data stored on the Secure Element and it is protected at the hardware level from snooping or tampering.”

27. Note that malware did infect Android apps as recently as March.

28. Google’s response to the possibility of someone getting close to your phone to read sensitive data, is, “The NFC antenna in your phone is only activated when the screen is powered on, and even if the antenna is on and in proximity of a reader, payment credentials can only be transmitted from the Secure Element to a payment terminal if you first enter your Google Wallet PIN.”

29. As far as being held liable for unauthorized transactions on credit cards store on Google Wallet, Google says the same rules apply as plastic cards.

30. Google says it does not “currently” receive data about products you purchase using Google Wallet.

31. Google Wallet does record locally on the phone the time of transaction and the credentials used to pay. There is an option to turn on a feature to record your location.

32. Google enables you to clear your transaction history from the main menu of the app.

What Businesses Need to Know

33. To accept contactless payments, Google says your terminal must be ISO 14443 or 18092 standard (they will normally contain the universal contactless symbol).

34. You’ll need First Data’s latest systems to be able to accept Google Wallet (in addition to other contactless payments).

35. Merchants interested in participating can call First Data at 888-265-8147 (you can also request a call back here).

36. Merchants pay card-present rates for transactions made via Google Wallet (as opposed to card-not-present rates)

37. There are no additional charges.

38. Google does not take a cut of transaction fees through Google Wallet.

39. Businesses can request to become “SingleTap” merchants, where consumers can pay, redeem offers, and earn loyalty points. Merchants can integrate gift cards into Google Wallet.

40. Current SingleTap merchants include: American Eagle, Bloomingdales, The Container Store, Duane Reade, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy’s, Noah’s, Peet’s Coffe & Tea, RadioShack, Subway, Toys R Us, and Walgreens.

41. Current Tap and Pay merchants include Coca Cola, CVS, Jack in the Box, Sports Authority, and Sunoco.

42. Merchants can always send questions about Google Wallet to the company at wallet-b2b@google.com.

43. Google says it will remain an “open commerce ecosystem” by supporting many payment instruments with the goal of creating virtual versions of all the plastic cards that exist today, establishing APIs that issuing banks can develop for, and APIs to enable transfer of offers, loyalty programs, receipts, etc. at the point of sale, and spreading Google Wallet to more mobile devices and platforms.

“In terms of iPhone, RIM, Microsoft — we will partner with everyone,” Google VP of Commerce Stephanie Tilenius (named in the PayPal suit) is quoted as saying.


There are still plenty of unanswered questions. Rachel King at ZDNet posts some good ones, such as what happens when the battery dies? ATM cash advances? International travel?

Google is clearly very serious about the future of this app (see those aspirations mentioned earlier). I’m guessing some of these things will be addressed in time.

Do you think Google Wallet is a good idea? Tell us what you think.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • http://www.taragis.com BON

    their vision is clear! ^^ to simplify and make things faster and easy!

  • http://sites.google.com/site/luckytraincaboose Phil Taylor

    I read this report very carefully, attempting to keep an open mind on what my final opinion would be, and came to this conclusion:
    The Google Wallet system has far more and greater risks than benefits.
    Almost on a daily basis we read reports of so-called “secure” systems being illegally accessed. Many of these events have very serious consequences for private individuals as well as the sometimes huge corporations and businesses.
    Sometimes the business will assist in recompensing the private individual for their loss, but often they are told “caveat user” and left to suffer.
    Even when they do co-operate, it can be very stressful and involve legal representation to decide the extent of liability.

    • http://africanmangoe.com/ DK

      You bring up some very important points, Phil.

      And also, how far are we willing to go in order to have things be “convenient”? I mean, geez…we have so, so much already…we’re getting to the point where we can’t even remember the passwords to our so-called “secure” accounts!

  • http://www.greatgiftexpo.com the gift expo

    sounds like a very convenient way to go to make life simpler, but I have to agree with Phil about security issues. I would like to think that there is an app being developed that is unable to be hacked. Depending on the ability to secure information, I would look at using it in the future. Overall, I think it’s a great idea.

  • http://africanmangoe.com/ DK

    Wow. I never even knew about Google Wallet. For sure, serious security questions come up, but I’d have to really look into this.

    One thing I’m wondering about is, can you access your Wallet account via a non-phone device, like a desktop, laptop, or iPad?

    If your phone gets lost or stolen, can you delete your account from another device?

  • http://www.ameriwebs.com George Snell

    The program probably will be popular. People like cutting edge big-company intrusions into their life. Personally, I will not enter all my information into a device like my cell phone. It is too easy to lose, break, have stolen or just quit working causing a large amount of grief and duplicate work reconstructing, rebuilding, or in the case of loss or theft, cancelling credit cards, changing passwords and more. Not worth the potential hazzards to allow Google, Apple or someone else to not only track where you are via built-in gps locators, but now also know how much you spend where on what and whether you use debit or credit.

  • http://www.festivaltravelegypt.com festival

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    A high qualified team of professionals with more than 20 years of experience will follow your requests and listen attentively to all your demands and suggestions.

  • http://www.geekyfaust.info Faust

    paypal has a strong competitor right now, i could not imagine that google wallet is not asking for transaction fees like paypal is charging now.

  • http://www.i4.com.pt Filipa Coutinho

    Absolutely not

  • http://aurumwriters.com Freelance Article Writer

    Of course it is the future of making payments and “cashless roaming”, but I think some of the issues are yet to be tested and resolved to give them a final shape. Just put your fingers crossed guys…more is yet to come in the near future in terms of innovations!!!

    I personally like the idea, but am of strong opinion that a lot more has to be changed as there seem to be many challenges for this seemingly amazing innovation.

  • Hubs

    I would never use such an app! This “big brother” thing frightens me. Cell phones are already being robbed everyday, with a lot of violence. But with a phone-and-wallet-all-in-one : what is going to happen ?

    I would rather have a RFID chip in my right hand (I’m kidding : someone would chop my forearm…)

  • http://www.CaptainCyberzone.Com CaptainCyberzone

    Bad idea!
    Paper money was considered secure until the first forgeries were discovered. Credit cards, like Slate, with their “blink” feature (wireless transmission of the necessary card data to complete a transaction without having to run the card through a machine) have been compromised by smart theives who figured out a wireless way of retrieving your data (as long as they’re within range of your card).
    Hell, most computers are still vunerable to cyber attacks no matter your security … how many times has Google itself been compromised/hacked?!
    Besides, it’ll just turn into another way for the Government to intrude into one’s life.

  • http:///www.askzeev.info zeev greenberg

    good idea !
    we have the box (used to be a telephone device) with us 24/7-
    it’s already burned in our habits

    Goo must be responsible for any Fraud
    otherwise I stay with my int. CC as used all years
    go ahead

  • http://asifoundit.com Dennis Nikols

    Like all good ideas it this one has warts too. I for one am highly skeptical of anyone’s ability to protect my privacy, even myself. That does not mean some portion of my economic life should not be opened but if and only if that portion can be fully isolated. From the philosophical side the most important question is who benefits most or whose connivence are we talking about?

  • Frank

    Would you use Google Wallet to store all of your credit card information?
    No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!

    their vision is clear! ^^ to simplify and make things faster and easy!
    Google has never made things faster and easy, Read a corporate charter some time, their only goal is to Make Money!

  • Mark

    As open minded as I try to be with Google the facts remain. Google keeps records of everything. Every transaction, search e-mail everything you ever do to sell to marketing companies. The last thing i want them to be keeping track of is my credit information.

    In addition, I don;t want or need another venue for people to hack into to steal my credit information. Even less from a company I already don;t trust. The consequences of this type of business with Google are far too risky for me to ever consider. I can back up and maintain my own information, Thanks.

  • http://www.sbreports.com David Smith

    How amazing, Google does checkout for e-commerce website and now this.
    Well, I guest I can see how computers are gonna revolutionize the world.

    It’s great for Google the rightful heir to e-commerce {{{not paypal}}}
    And to make it a free app, go Google.

  • http://www.webdesigndevelopers.co.nz Pen

    I will play a wait and see game… I like the fact you don’t have to have an internet connection to make a payment – Great if you have MasterCard – but what about those of us who don’t live in the US? I guess I have no option but to wait and see if the rest of the Western World will be included.

  • Conrad



  • http://www.menswallet.co.uk/ wallet

    “Google says it does not “currently” receive data about products you purchase using Google Wallet…”

    The use of the word currently could well be significant. There has to be something in it for Google. And if there are “no additional charges”, then, well…

  • bill

    Too risky…the more information, the more attraction for hackers

  • http://www.andyvideoboss.com Video Boss

    I also hear.. Paypal is suing Google.. Paypal claims Google poached one of its employees who passed on the idea to Google.. i saw the post on USA today


  • http://www.pencerecam.com kenan

    alüminyun panjur, sineklik, ferforje

  • luigi

    I trust them, do not know why, but it is one of the company I trust. Could be because I think they can protect my data better than others…
    I want the GWallet!

  • http://thetechsupport.info jessie mcvicar

    It’s a great idea. Only one problem. When the base of programming is unstable. Can be loop holed, hacked, etc from lack of a stable programming core. people are gonna get screwed. I think google and companies like it need to fund their own experiments in their own labs, Not on the general public as most of them are doing now mainly in the laptop divisions of most companies.

    I think until the core issues of programing are dealt with this is another disaster in the making. SOE thought it was secure too. They just found out….no one is.

  • Anonymous

    Not for me … ever … its a trust issue. I simply do not share personal information electronically unless I absolutely must …

  • http://hubpages.com/profile/dame+scribe Gin

    I think a security feature like a alarm, literally, should sound off if there’s an attempted theft of such data. Such a alarm should be implemented with ATM’s also. This would be a very cool feature altogether. Over all, Gwallet sounds very impressive.

  • Jenny Berg

    I think you forgot to mention that Google Does Not have any customer support, no phone numbers and can take a few months to answer an important request with usually, an autoresponder. Google could easily beat paypal and others but the lack of support makes it just impossible to use, I stopped using google checkout because of the problems that can never be solved, imagine now with millions of users and transactions, good luck getting any support. Didn’t paypal got sued because they did not show the phone number in the site a few years ago?

  • http://www.softwarefreeway.com/ Len

    I remember watching the early shows of Star Trek, as a kid, and thinking to myself how cool it would be to have that little hand-held device they used to detect & track everything
    , not to mention the little badge on their uniform
    that they would press in order to talk to anyone, anywhere.

    Well, it seems as though those times are pretty much here thanks to the progress of cell phone’s. Now, if only I had a holodeck in my back yard!

  • Newton

    at last – another corporate giant coming off as the saviour of payment apps! Google WILL end up charging for their services down the road. Google is Big business – I’m not forgetting that. PayPal didn’t charge in the early years either. But now? Of course! I’m a fan of PayPal. Their customer service is second to none. I’m sure they’ll have their own version of Google Wallet.

  • http://www.eukhost.com/cloud-hosting.php Cloud Hosting

    Though I am aware the launch of this new Google’s product, but was searching for more specs. Thanks for putting it simple. After going through all the points mentioned above, it should simplify ways of making payments. Yet, the think that would bother most individuals is its security, though Im sure Google might have thought about it as well and would have tried to keep it safe for end users.
    Lets see how it turns out to be.


  • http://woculus.com/ Ayo @ Woculus

    Good post Chris.

    Why are we always afraid of change? Why are people sayn bad idea?

    I don’t get the point. This is a welcome development for the digital world. Again, a new technology has come to simplify our lifestyle. Let us stop being overly critical of Google Wallet.

    They are doing a lot of work at Google, and I am really impressed.

  • Ben Henderson

    WoW! I like it. I really like it. Google, what a leader. Innovator. What a service provider. I am in the high-end customer service business, and people are always complaining about too many credit cards, and loyalty cards they have to carry around, now we have Google Wallet. That’s just great!



  • http://www.carita-fantasi.com Suganda

    i like it :-)

  • john

    No Way !!!!!!!!

  • Evelyn

    This would become a breeding ground for hackers. Instead of targeting one company to hack into, it would hack into one source with many credit cards. What a field day these hackers would have.

    No paper trail, but electronic shutdown because of terrorists is also a consideration of not keeping everything in the “cloud.” Think of a security breach that would be so enormous and devastating to us as individuals, as well as to the U.S. If someone wants something bad enough, they’ll find a way to get in and get what they want. Just a thought.

  • http://www.vcaresoftwaredevelopment.com Daniel Jose

    Its already tested by many companies in the last past years, but this time with a lot bigger company.


    Also, if you ever want to, I don’t know, close your Google Wallet account you have to motherfreaking CALL them. You can’t do it online. https://support.google.com/wallet/answer/2907658?hl=en

  • larzen

    What does this furniture ad have to do with Google Wallet?