Google has released the biggest update yet to its mobile payment platform.
Now, users are able to link any of their existing credit or debit cards to their Google Wallet account.
“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,” Google wrote in a blog post.
Google has seen very little traction on Google Wallet, and has been working for months to rebrand itself.
Google Wallet faced a lot of problems, not the least of which was just how limited its access was. The only major carrier that supports it is Sprint, and that’s something that is not likely to change any time soon since Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have joined up to create their own Google Wallet rival.
In addition, of course, users needed to have a phone with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. That’s a huge limitation right now.
And finally, the only financial institution that supported Google Wallet was Citi. Users needed to link a Citi credit card; not even Citibank debit cards were eligible. There was an alternative way to get Google Wallet through a prepaid debit card, but that kind of defeats the purpose of making mobile payments simpler.
So this new move is great, but it might be too little, too late.