Google Wallet Now Supporting Multiple Cards, Like, Um, a Real Wallet

One of the reasons why mobile payments haven’t been widely adopted is because the services aren’t easy enough to use.

And Google Wallet has been one of the biggest offenders.

But starting today, the company is making a few key changes that will remove a lot of barriers to entry.

For instance, now users will be able to store multiple cards in the Google Wallet, whether they are issued by Visa, Discover, American Express or MasterCard. In addition, users will now also be able to use Google Wallet to pay online at thousands of participating merchants.

“When we launched, we only supported Citi MasterCard and our own prepaid card,” said Robin Dua, Google Wallet’s head of product management.

With this new approach, adding a new card will be easy. Before, he said, it took several months to a year of working with a bank to complete — a lifetime in the fast-moving technology space.

To make it work, Google explained in a blog post, it will now store the payment information in the cloud, rather than in the phone’s secure element. When users add a credit or debit card to the Google Wallet mobile app, they will be issued a “virtual” MasterCard card number. As a result, the merchant will never receive your real credit or debit card credentials, but rather be presented with that number, adding another layer of security.

As part of the announcement, Google also added new security features that will allow users to log in online and delete all of their information if they ever lost their phone.

So, is Google Wallet now perfect?

No, not really. For now, it is still limited to six NFC-enabled phones.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik