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Google Wallet gets major credit card players on its platform

Google has expanded its mobile wallet payment platform into the cloud to allow users to make payments with all the major credit and debit card brands, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards, all of which are now supported says the technology firm. The move comes off the back of a slow start for the Google Wallet and is obviously intended to try to grow the ecosystem for the platform.

Google already has 25 large retail chains signed up to its wallet, but has struggled to attract other players to make its wallet truly universal, making it just another player in an already crowded space. The mobile payments platform was launched last year and enables users to integrate their bank and credit cards with mobile and cloud-based payment platforms. Users can then use near field communication (NFC) enabled handsets to activate ‘tap to pay’ features and automatically deduct money from their accounts. More importantly, loyalty points can also be collected and an entire ecosystem created, which Google hopes to control.

“To support all credit and debit cards, we changed our technical approach to storing payment cards,” said Google Wallet’s head of product management, Robin Dua. “The Google Wallet app now stores your payment cards on secure Google servers, instead of in the secure storage area on your phone.”

Attempt made to plug security hole
Google added that it also intends to extend the security protections for the Wallet platform and would be enabling remote disable features in the future. Users will now be able to log into the online Wallet page and use the devices tab to remotely revoke the ability for a lost or stolen mobile device to make payments.

The lack of this ‘switch off’ functionality has been a key concern up until now and potentially left the app vulnerable to simple fraud attacks. In February of this year, for instance, Google temporarily suspended parts of the Wallet service after researchers’ uncovered potential encryption issues related to the platform.

By Neil Ainger