Google Wallet hasn't exactly taken over the mobile payment space. In fact, we'd argue that startups like Square are doing a better job of infiltrating the small biz market and grabbing mind share all the while. Why, you ask? Because Wallet was limited from the start. It's only on select phones, and up until now, only supports select cards. As of today, the app is supported on six phones from Sprint and Virgin Mobile, and also the Nexus 7 tablet. But Wallet's growing up in a pretty big way today. Aside from having the support of 25 national retailers, Google is this week releasing a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Now, you can use any card when you shop in-store or online with Google Wallet. With the new version, you can also remotely disable your mobile wallet app from your Google Wallet account on the web.
That's a huge boon, and the wide open support for cards may well indeed provide the boost it needed to begin its march toward the mainstream. Wondering how it'll all work? Here's a bit from Google: "To save a card to Google Wallet, just enter the number into the mobile app, online wallet, or Google Play when making purchases. When you shop in-store, you can use Google Wallet in conjunction with your selected credit or debit card for purchases (more info here). Shortly after making a payment, you’ll see a transaction record on the phone with the merchant name and dollar amount. You can now view a history of all your in-store and online purchases from the online wallet."
In order to make this process word, Google had to alter its technical approach to storing payment cards. Now, the app stores it on "highly secure" Google servers, instead of on the phone itself. 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. 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. Of course, a PIN is still required at the point of purchase, so that should help you rest easy regarding any security qualms. Now, if only it'd hit more phones (and perhaps even the iPhone), we'd be in business.