Problems with Google Wallet
Andrew | On 19, Jul 2012
Google Wallet is currently only available on specific mobile devices in the United States. Rumours
suggesting hoping that Google Wallet will launch in the UK in time for the London Olympics appear to be untrue. Proposals by Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere to create a rival joint venture named Project Oscar also hit the rocks in April as the EU launched an in-depth investigation into their proposals which is likely to take several months. Why use Google Wallet NFC payments? Should we trust Google to access even more of our data? What about contactless debit cards and contactless credit cards? What are the Google Wallet problems and issues?
Google Wallet is not convenient
Let’s get rid of this myth, this utopian fantasy, this idealistic drivel straight away. In its current form Google Wallet will never ever replace your actual wallet. Contactless payment limits are around £15. This is seen a sensible amount given that there is no security, no PIN or identity check with these payments. Swipe and go. It is therefore actually highly inconvenient to only have Google Wallet with you. Unless your girlfriend finds a meal at McDonalds romantic Google Wallet isn’t going to pay for your meal out. It’s also unlikely to pay for your weekly grocery shop.
Contactless is already in debit and credit cards
Halifax, Barclays, Lloyds TSB, Barclaycard, Virgin Money, MBNA and HSBC already have contactless cards in circulation. Soon all credit/debit cards will be contactless. If its not practical to leave home without your debit/credit cards (due to the contactless payment limit) and your cards are contactless there is no point using Google Wallet. In fact you’d be stupid to use Google Wallet for everyday purchases. It may look cool but you are giving away your data for no real payoff (read on!).
You’re giving Google data for no payoff
Google use your data to make money. It’s why they give away Android to manufacturers for free – because the data they get from flooding the market with Android devices is more valuable. It’s also why the Google Nexus 7 Tablet is being sold at cost – that and selling content from Google Play. Google has already got major access to our everyday lives. They profit by giving advertisers access to your eyeballs and by gathering and selling market intelligence. There is no payoff for using Google Wallet for payments so by using the service you are effectively giving away your valuable (and personal) information for free. Google will know your buying habits both online and everywhere you use Google Wallet for contactless payments. To me that’s just plain frightening.
Google Wallet is an emergency solution at best
You’ve lost your wallet, or you’ve forgotten your wallet. That’s when Google Wallet would come in handy. However, if you are with Natwest you can up to £100 out of a Natwest cash machine only by using your mobile phone’s app. That’s nearly 7 times more money than you can spend on a single contactless transaction. The app is also available on Android, iOS and Blackberry – accessible to almost all smartphone users regardless of whether you have NFC. Plus there’s the big advantage of not having to sign up for Google Wallet, trust Google to keep your financial data safe, give Google more information about you, or risk someone stealing your phone and paying for their stuff with your phone. It’s just another thing to remember to cancel.
One thing Google Wallet can be good at…
All is not lost! There is one thing Google Wallet could be good at – storing all of your loyalty cards. Yes it is not as glorified as making payments but, most importantly, there is a payoff. You see when you sign up for a loyalty card you are making a transaction. This transaction is not about money but about data. You agree to give away your data for free (biographical, address and purchases). In return the business gets a receptive audience, chance to make further sales and potentially secures your loyalty through habit and the reward of points or prizes. Google Wallet could store all your loyalty cards, saving you space in your wallet and giving you a central hub to see all of your points / prizes / offers. The convenience you would get is the payoff. As you have already essentially given this data away for free giving it to Google too is not such a big step.
Google Wallet is a fad
Remember video calling? It was a fad – everyone now uses Skype or similar. Google Wallet is exactly the same thing. Some early adopters will give it a go but then people will just use their contactless debit cards as its more convenient (not stuck to a £15 limit), your not giving your data to Google for no payoff, and you are not increasing your risk by giving your financial data another company (Google). You are also not adding another thing to the list of items people can steal and make contactless payments with. Google Wallet would be wise to re-position themselves to being a loyalty card hub – its of more value to the consumer. It would also provide more revenue streams (schemes joining Google Wallet) and keep Google doing what it does best – providing services that have a payoff in return for our data.
What do you think? Is this fair? Do you agree? Have your say in our poll and post a comment!