Google Wallet is a nice feature – in theory. In practice, however, it was very limited. It only worked with Citi MasterCards or one of Google’s prepaid debit cards, and you had to be a Sprint customer. This drastically limited its user base and made Google Wallet difficult to use in everyday life. Thankfully, that’s in the past. Google has updated the app to v1.5, adding support for every major credit and debit card. Our sister site, Pocketables, is also hearing that it now works on more carriers than just Sprint, like Verizon.
Essentially, Google Wallet uses a virtual MasterCard to make purchases. This, in turn, bills your actual credit or debit card. The workaround is surprisingly effective and it supposedly works with credit card rewards systems as well. Google does, however, note that “If you receive additional rewards when shopping at a specific merchant, these benefits may not be applied when using Google Wallet.” In order to ensure that everything works smoothly, it’s recommend that you always specify that you are “paying with credit via MasterCard.”
Any cards associated with your Google account will automatically appear in your Wallet, and you’ll be able to give each one its own name and color. Additionally, if your device is ever lost, you can remotely disable your Google Wallet via a web interface. Overall, Google Wallet v1.5 is a much-needed update for the search giant’s digital payment system.