04 August 2012 09:37

Google Wallet moves to the cloud to support all credit and debit cards

Google -Wallet -Payment -Demo

Google is bidding to breathe new life into its stuttering mobile wallet platform by launching a cloud-based version of the app that can be linked to Visa, American Express and Discover cards.

Launched a little over a year ago, Google Wallet was hyped as the service that would jump-start the NFC mobile payments revolution but takeup has been sluggish. 

Although security concerns have played a part, the main reason for the tepid welcome has been the search giant's inability to move beyond its initial launch partners of MasterCard, Citi and Sprint.

This is now being addressed with a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.  The app stores card details on Google's servers rather than on the handset, with a wallet ID - a virtual MasterCard - on the phone's secure storage area used to enable transactions at the point of sale. 

The firm says that 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. By using the cloud, it has also been able to add a new security feature that lets users remotely disable their mobile wallet on a lost phone.

The wallet can be used to make purchases in the Google Play store, online using Google Checkout and in instore at more than 200,000 locations. 

However, despite widening the service out beyond MasterCard, the wallet still only works with six handsets from Sprint and Virgin Mobile as well as the Nexus 7 tablet.  This could prove a major disadvantage when the telco-owned Isis consortium launches its mobile NFC wallet - with all the card firms on board - later this year.

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