Google Wallet App Now Takes All Credit Cards, But Is It Safe?

Google’s quickly expanding piece of the mobile-payments space is capturing headlines and causing consumers to ponder the security of storing credit and debit card data in their smart phones.
Won’t this make it easier for card thieves to obtain a valuable chunk of your financial profile?
Google this week made a point to explain the security measures behind its new cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.
The Internet search giant so far has made it available on six phones from Sprint and Virgin Mobile, and the new Nexus 7 tablet. It has also partnered with more than 25 national retailers, in addition to syncing up with MasterCard PayPass, where you can pay with your phone at more than 200,000 retail locations across the U.S.
Google Wallet uses “NFC,” or near field communication, the technology that enables smart phones and other devices to establish a radio connection by touch or coming within close proximity. It is the mechanism that providers of mobile payment systems are hoping will entice consumers to replace that old-fashioned wallet or purse full of worn credit cards.
Google needs to overcome the public’s concerns over storing vital personal data in their phones to get Google Wallet into the mainstream of smart phone and tablet usage.
Google heavily stressed a new security feature that makes it possible for users to remotely disable their mobile wallet on a lost phone.
“It’s easy,” Google’s statement said. “If you lose your phone, just visit the ‘Devices’ section in the online wallet and select the phone with the mobile wallet you wish to disable.”
Upon disabling your wallet on a device, Google Wallet will not authorize any transactions attempted with that device.  If the Google Wallet online service can establish a connection to your device, it will remotely reset your mobile wallet, clearing it of card and transaction data.
As a matter of reassuring skeptical consumers, Google says that’s something you can’t do with your traditional leather wallet.
Google Wallet app stores your payment cards on “highly secure” servicers, instead of the secure storage area on your phone.
A wallet ID, or “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 then instantly charges your selected credit or debit card.

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