Google announced a new cloud-based version of its mobile wallet as the one-year anniversary of its launch nears.
The new version of the Google Wallet supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, said the company. The cloud-based wallet also 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 search giant decided to embark on the cloud offering after listening to feedback from users, according to Robin Dua, head of product management for Google Wallet. Among the changes made to the new version of the wallet based on customer feedback is a unified experience for shopping in-store and online, he said. With the NFC-based wallet, users had to go through a multi-step process to enable online shopping. Further, said Dua, Google made enhancements to the wallet's security. In the event a user loses their phone, Dua said, they can go online and remotely disable Google Wallet. Also, Google created a brand-new user interface for the product.
The ability of Google Wallet to now support all four major card issuers is another big step forward for the product, said Dua. Previously, only select Citi MasterCard Cards and Google Prepaid Card could be used with it.
Dua said Google also wanted to make it easier for issuers and banks to partner with Google Wallet.
"The Google Wallet app now stores your payment cards on highly secure Google servers, instead of in the secure storage area on your phone," Dua said. "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."
Dua said Google still feels very strongly about the success of its NFC-based wallet.
"NFC will soon be a standard feature of every smartphone," he said. "And the merchants that have added contactless readers is continuing to go up month after month."