This is a guest post by Andreas Nicolaides of MoneySupermarket.com.
As everything is becoming quicker and easier in this technically advanced day and age, it comes as no surprise that new developments will soon allow us to pay for purchases without actually having to open our wallets. Google is introducing the new Google Wallet, a virtual wallet that combines details of your payments and credit cards with special offers and discounts all together on your smart phone and online.
How does it work?
The idea behind Google Wallet is to have all your relevant card details safely stored in one place, your virtual wallet. That information is accessed via your mobile phone as and when you need it by using the special PayPass reader available at the check-out area of a shop. Simply pass your phone by the reader and your details will be transferred instantly and the payment made. It is quick and easy and means that all you need to take to the shop is your mobile phone.
The process works in a similar way online, offering an extra level of security when buying over the internet. When you buy online, just look for the Google Wallet symbol and you can make your purchase quickly and easily by simply signing into your Google account.
Is this really a safe way to pay?
For many people, the question of security is at the forefront of their minds. Google has said that the online wallet has been designed to be safe and offers many security features that current methods of payment don’t have. Before you start to use the technology, you will be asked to set up your own PIN, which you will then need to enter before making a purchase, in the same way you use the PIN on your current credit cards.
All your personal details will be safely encrypted on a computer chip within your mobile phone, which Google call the Secure Element. This chip will only work with certain programs, so it can’t be accessed by any other rogue technology. The PayPass reader also uses its own encryption technology to make sure your details are protected from the minute they are sent from your phone.
In theory, this could be a fast and convenient way to make a payment and means you can keep all your information in one place instead of carrying various cards around with you. All you will need to do is enter your PIN before passing your phone across the reader machine.
One worry is what will happen if you were to lose your phone? According to Google, the layers of security surrounding your details means if someone were to find your phone, they wouldn’t be able to access your virtual wallet unless their knew your PIN. However, to be completely safe, it might be worth cancelling your credit cards regardless.
What do you think of Google Wallet? Is it the future of payments, or just one big security risk? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.