Google wallet was one of the first to introduce a mobile wallet app, with its introduction in September 2011. In spite of this head-start, the app never reached the status which one would expect from Google. The app is available for Google account holders at no charge, and can be found under the “apps” tab in their browser. At one point, the Google Wallet offered tap and pay contactless payments, but this practice has since been discontinued and Google Wallet is primarily used for sending money person-to-person. Users may transfer money to/from their registered and confirmed bank accounts and request a free Google Wallet debit card to use in stores in order to spend their Google Wallet balance.
Google recommends that those interested in a contactless digital wallet use Android Pay. At present, this app is good for sending money, but does not include many of the features which the Review Team uses to rate companies offering a mobile wallet to be recommended as a mobile wallet provider.
- Secure transactions
- Google Wallet card
Google Wallet offers their users secure transactions in sending money to individuals. Being that no financial information is shared during the transaction, this feature is appealing to those purchasing items from someone whom they don't know (auctions, online sales, etc.) as well as being a secure way to send funds to friends and family. The app is included for anyone with a Google account and simple to use.
Google Wallet Card
Google Wallet is funded by either transferring funds from a confirmed checking account held with a US bank or by receiving money from another Google Wallet user. Any registered user of Google Wallet may request a Google Wallet card which is free of charge and may be used as a debit card so that users may spend their Google Wallet funds in retail stores or online.
Google recommends Android Pay to those who are looking for a mobile wallet with tap and pay convenience.
- Security concerns
- Delay in funds
Google Wallet had the capability to pay merchants with the app and a compatible phone at one time, however, this is no longer the case. This app is integrated with one's existing Google account automatically, so some have expressed concerns with the security of their balances/linked financial accounts by having this integration. It is important to note that Google Wallet is covered against fraudulent use as well as the Google Wallet MasterCard.
Delay in Funds
Past users of the person-to-person money sending feature have stated that there was a delay in receiving the funds, but Google Wallet states that the funds are available instantly.
The Bottom Line
In spite of the features of being able to send/receive money from one's Google account, there are simply not enough features of a mobile wallet for the Review Team to recommend Google Wallet as a stand-alone mobile wallet app. Google Wallet is helpful in sending money to individuals and convenient with a Google Wallet MasterCard debit card which can be used at retailers and online. The app is clear on what it does and does not do, and recommends Android Pay for mobile wallet use.