Google is introducing Google Wallet, but the app’s first phase will only work with a certain phone and credit card. You need the Android Nexus S 4G phone and a Citi MasterCard, Google Prepaid Card, or gift card from a participating merchant. Paying will be as simple as tapping your phone kind of like you tap your credit card at select PayPass terminals.
The product will be field tested in New York and San Francisco. You can enter the first six letters of your Citi card to see if you’re eligible for the program. You can also enter your zip code on Google’s website to see where Google Wallet will be accepted.
While Cleveland is not one of the test cities, Google Wallet is expected to be released this summer. In Cleveland the following places are listed as acceptable places to pay with Google Wallet: the Indians, M&I Deli, Golland Shoes, and select Dominoes, Sbarro, Zashin & Rich Co LPA, Gumbo Joe’s, Rite Aid, Timbuktu Bookstore, Shop Rite, B’s Shop Rite, G’s Fresh Pizza Company, Georgio’s Oven Fresh, BP, Kitchen The, Nick’s Family Restaurant, Nothing Over a $1.00, The Home Depot, A and M Beauty Supply, Petco, Amy’s Food Market, Best Buy, H.N.A. Food, Mobile Zone, Dollar & More, Ghazi’s Market, and CVS Pharmacy locations were listed as places that will accept Google Wallet. Globally, Google Wallet will be available at more than 311,000 global PayPass merchants.
Security is obviously a big concern. Google Wallet will use secure payments and touts that it will go beyond traditional cards. The first release will require an app-specific PIN. Your personal card information will be encrypted and stored on a chip that’s separate from your phone’s memory. That data will only be accessible by an authorized program.
Citi Card says consumers will have $0 liability on unauthorized purchases. The card company adds that only the last four digits of your account number will appear on the screen. Even though a PIN will be used to access payments, if you lose your phone Citi says just contact them like you would if you lost a credit card.
This is expected to be one of many new payment methods to hit the market. If you choose to use these for convenience sake, make sure you set a PIN or security symbol to even access the basic features of your phone. A second PIN to access private functions of your phone is a second layer of defense.
It’s also a good idea to download a program that sounds an alarm when you lose your phone. It may help you track down your phone, and will deter a would be thief from wreaking havoc on your life. The more layers of security and protection you take, the better off you’ll be if your information lands in the wrong hands.
While this is the first phase of this technology, it’s expected to roll out to more credit card companies and cell phones in the future.