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The Benefits of Using Google Wallet

More than 90 percent of American adults have a cell phone, and 56 percent have a smartphone, according to a recent study by Pew Internet. Increasingly, cell phone owners are using their devices to surf the Internet, shop and pay for items. Google Wallet, launched in 2011, seeks to take advantage of this trend by making it easy for consumers to pay for items by using just their cell phones.

What is Google Wallet?

Google Wallet is an app that can be downloaded on most Apple, Samsung, Motorola, HTC and LG phones as well as on certain tablets. The app allows users to store a variety of credit cards, debit cards, store loyalty cards, gift cards and coupons securely, and use these items to pay for purchases at more than 300,000 MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave terminals located throughout the United States.

Benefits of using Google Wallet as a consumer

Google Wallet offers consumers a number of benefits. Chief among these is security.

  • Security. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, having your credit and debit card information encrypted on a phone app is a lot safer than carrying around a handful of credit cards that are subject to getting lost or being stolen from your wallet. The encrypted payment information on Google Wallet also protects you against an unscrupulous clerk or waiter copying your credit card information and using it later. With Google Wallet, there is nothing to copy. The payment is processed without the clerk or waiter having to handle the card. Your information is also protected if your phone is stolen. Google Wallet requires a PIN to access the information and the phone has to be turned on for the payment information to be scanned.

  • Speed. Since we're all in a hurry these days, Google Wallet offers the advantage of processing payments more quickly than if you had to find your card, hand it to the clerk, have them run the card and then sign the receipt.

  • Loyalty cards. If you never seem to have the right store loyalty card when you get to the checkout line, Google Wallet can help. The app stores all of your store cards on your phone, so you don't have to fumble with your keys or that you remember to bring the right cards with you when you shop. There are a few downsides to using Google Wallet. Currently the app is only compatible with phones and devices made in the United States. Also, many merchants have not yet made Google Wallet a payment option at their stores.

If you're a merchant

The advantages of Google Wallet aren't limited to consumers. If you're a retailer and don't have an agreement with Google to accept payment via Google Wallet, you're missing an opportunity to save money, while offering an increasingly popular service to your customers. For one thing, Google doesn't currently charge merchants for payments made via Google Wallet. They maintain that they make enough revenue by selling ads for the app.

If you haven't investigated Google Wallet, it's worth a look. The app offers ease, security and convenience.