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Google Wallet expands to the cloud with support for all credit cards

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is rolling out a cloud-based version of its Google Wallet contactless payment application that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.

Consumers may save a card to Google Wallet by entering the number into the mobile app, online wallet or Google Play storefront. After the card is added, Google partner Bancorp Bank issues a Google Wallet Virtual Card linked to the consumer's account--when the user makes an in-store purchase, Google Wallet processes the merchant payment via the virtual card, then charges the amount of the original purchase to the selected debit or credit card.

"To support all credit and debit cards, we changed our technical approach to storing payment cards," explains Google Wallet Head of Product Management Robin Dua. "The Google Wallet app now stores your payment cards on highly secure Google servers, instead of in the secure storage area on your phone. A wallet ID (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. 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."

The revamped Google Wallet also introduces a new security feature allowing consumers to remotely disable the service in the event their Android device is lost or stolen. To deactivate Google Wallet, users can visit the 'Devices' section in the online wallet and select the phone they wish to disable. "When you successfully disable your wallet on a device, Google Wallet will not authorize any transactions attempted with that device," Dua adds. "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."

First introduced in May 2011, the Near Field Communications-based Google Wallet enables consumers to make purchases by tapping their Android smartphone at more than 200,000 MasterCard PayPass-enabled merchant terminals across the U.S. Google Wallet also includes support for SingleTap, which allows users to redeem coupons and/or earn rewards points, as well as Featured Offers, which spotlights exclusive discounts from select retailers.

Watch a video about Google Wallet above.

Although Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) offers a handful of NFC-enabled Android smartphones supporting Google Wallet, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA have shunned the service as they focus on building out their own nationwide m-commerce network, Isis, which is slated to begin consumer trials later this month. Reports also indicate Sprint is planning its own rival contactless payment initiative, casting doubt on how Google Wallet fits into its plans moving forward.

For more:
- read this Google Commerce Blog entry

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