Monday, January 12, 2015

Thrilled Using Google Wallet

I am thrilled today.  Why am I so thrilled?  Today I finally completed the setup of my Google Wallet account by verifying my bank checking account as a funding source for my Google Wallet account.  

The first thing I did after this verification was to transfer some money from my checking account into my Google Wallet account.  It worked flawlessly with no extra charge for the transfer.  Now I feel much safer using my Google Wallet card for payments instead of my bank debit card.   My debit card has been compromised three times in about a year's time.  Now if my Google Wallet card is hacked, the hackers will only get a card number that is no longer valid.  So, take that, hackers!  Bring it on!  No longer do I have to worry about my checking account being drained of funds.  No longer do I have to go through the painful process of updating user accounts with my new debit card.  Hopefully I have updated my user accounts with my Google Wallet for the last time.  
You can see why I am thrilled.  It is a good feeling going into a store and paying with my Google Wallet card.  Oh, someday the hackers may find a way to hack the Google Wallet payment system, but it won't be anytime soon.  I am betting that Google will be able to keep their payment system secure.  It certainly is more secure than the debit/credit card payment system.

Yes, today I am thrilled! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Google Wallet, Venmo, and Credit Card Hacking

I have been using Google Wallet to pay for things about a month now.  I usually paid the bills at Wegmans, Panera Bread, and McDonald's with the Google Wallet app on my smartphone.  Then I ordered a Google Wallet card to use at vendors who do not accept payments via the smartphone.  The Google Wallet card is a MasterCard card and is accepted wherever MasterCard is accepted.  Now I can use Google Wallet everywhere.  I used it for the first time last week at Target.  It worked without a hitch.

It is ironic, at least to me, that I used my Google Wallet card at Target.  When credit cards were hacked a little more than a year ago at Target, my bank debit card was one of the cards that were compromised.  My bank quickly gave me a new debit card, and I lost no funds as a result of the hack.  Now if Target is hacked again, my bank account will be safe, or at least safer, as long as I use my Google Wallet card when I shop there.

Speaking of being hacked, my bank debit card was hacked again at Staples.  Again, my bank quickly gave me a new debit card last week, and I have not lost any funds as a result.  It was hacked this past September, well before I started using Google Wallet.  If I had been aware of Google Wallet and its capabilities before Target was hacked, my debit card would have never been compromised.

As a result of being compromised again, I have been updating my debit card info with my new debit card in all the places where I use a debit card.  One app that I use to transfer funds to another person is Venmo.  I went to edit that app on my smartphone to add my new debit card as a funding source and delete my old credit card.  After I did that, I realized something.  Venmo stated on that app that the app will charge 3% if I use my debit card as a funding source for the app.  However, I have not been charged anything extra when I use the app.  I realized that it was my bank account that I had deleted from Venmo instead of my old debit card.  I am not charged extra if I use my bank account as a funding source.  I have now added back my bank account as a funding source, and it is my primary funding source when I use Venmo.

I was mad at myself for being careless and deleting something that I did not want to delete.  Now I am glad I made that mistake.  Why?  Because I noticed on Google Wallet that when I transfer funds from my bank account to my Google Wallet account, I am charged a little extra.  I am using my debit card as a funding source instead of my bank account, thus I am being charged a little extra.  It works like Venmo does.  I am now in the midst of changing my funding source on Google Wallet to my bank account instead of my debit card.  I should no longer be charged extra when I do a funds transfer.  One mistake on Venmo made me realize I had made a mistake on Google Wallet.  Who knows how long it would have been before I discovered I did not have to pay extra when doing fund transfers in Google Wallet.  At least I know now.  Live and learn!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

I Am Financially Safer This New Year's Day

With the advent of 2015, I feel that I am financially safer.  I started using Google Wallet on my smartphone this past December.  When paying with Google Wallet, you are using a one-time Google credit card number for that payment, and that number is only valid for that payment and is no longer valid after that payment.  Thus if that credit card number is hacked, it is useless for any payments made by that hacker.  My debit card is not used in the payment transaction, and the hacker cannot get to my debit card.

One significant drawback to Google Wallet is that it is not widely accepted by vendors.  I have been able to use Google Wallet at Wegmans, Panera Bread, and McDonald's.  I started to use Google Wallet when Apple Pay came out, but I don't have an iPhone, so I could not signup for Apple Pay.  However, because Apple in now in the smartphone payment business, more people have been using Google Wallet.  That hasn't yet encouraged more vendors to accept Google Wallet though.  Given time, I think more vendors will start using Google's payment system.  In the meantime, I feel a little nervous using my debit card for payment.

I noticed on the Google Wallet app that it mentioned a Google Wallet card.  I did some research, and Google Wallet cards are accepted at all vendors that accept MasterCard cards..  Once you activate it, your Google Wallet card is linked to your Google account on your smartphone.  You must have enough money in your Google Wallet account to cover the transaction.  You add money to your Google Wallet account by transferring the amount from your bank's debit card.  The transfer is done via the Google Wallet app, and it just takes a couple of minutes.

I just received my Google Wallet card yesterday, and I have activated it.  I have some money in my Google Wallet account, so I am ready to use the card.  Now I don't have to use my bank debit card for payments, and when I feel comfortable in doing so, I won't even have to keep my bank card with me when I am out and about.  I now feel financially safer in using my Google Wallet card instead of my bank debit card.  No system is perfectly safe, but at least it will be much harder for hackers to get to my bank account.  Even if my Google Wallet card is stolen, the most money they can get is the amount of money in my Google Wallet account.  Now all I have to do is go out and buy something with it.  Yes!  Progress is good!