How to use Google Wallet, step by step
LaptopMag offers a play-by-play walk through of Google Wallet.
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You can save offers to redeem them later, but chances are you won’t be able to pay with your phone. That’s because most merchants (especially smaller ones) don’t offer NFC-capable payment terminal. So you’ll show your phone’s screen to redeem an offer and then pay with an old-fashioned credit card or cash. Google SingleTap merchants are the exception, where you can pay and redeem offers with a single tap.Skip to next paragraph
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Obviously, Google and its partners want to work towards having more businesses on board that will accept payments via NFC, but it’s going to take time and money.
Security and Privacy
Google Wallet includes several security features designed to provide peace of mind, some of which are behind the scenes and some that you control. To prevent others from using your Android phone as a wallet, Google Wallet uses a PIN number that you must enter at timed intervals. Under Settings you can set the PIN timer to 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes.
If you would rather not let Google keep a record of where you’re making purchases, you can tell the app to not use your location. So you’ll only see the time when you look up Tap Events in Google Wallet.
For those concerned about wireless snoopers, the Nexus S 4G contains a Secure Element chip that only authorized programs can access, like Google Wallet. This works hand in hand with the PIN code. Google claims that this element is protecting from both snooping and tampering, but advises that you treat a lost or stolen phone just like a lost credit card. You should contact the credit card companies for the cards you’ve used on Google Wallet.
Google Wallet Outlook
It’s too soon to determine whether Google Wallet will be a hit. The app is available on only one phone, and there are a lot more businesses who don’t accept NFC payments than those that do, making using Google Wallet somewhat of a hunting expedition. However, when you find a participating retailer, Google Wallet works seamlessly. We also love the idea of using a single app to redeem offers, rack up loyalty points, and check out with a single tap. Google just needs to work hard to sign up more SingleTap merchants.
Google isn’t alone in the phone-as-wallet race. Isis, a joint venture of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, has signed up American Express, Discover, and Visa as partners. But Isis isn’t a real product yet. Google Wallet is here now, and it’s off to a pretty good start.