Google recently announced their new mobile payment system, Google Wallet.
It’s a free app on your smartphone to make purchases at bricks and mortar stores. Here are the highlights from Google:
You’ll be able to store your credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and gift cards, but without the bulk. When you tap to pay, your phone will also automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you.
I think it’s brilliant, especially since I carry so many cards in my wallet to take advantage of all of the current credit card rewards programs.
Google Wallet Details
Network and phone eligibility. So far, Google Wallet only works on Sprint with the Nexus S 4G. I have a HERO on Sprint SERO, so I won’t be getting that phone anytime soon, but Google promised they’ll be rolling it out to more phones soon.
Stores accepting payments. You can see which stores near you accept Google Wallet payments. I was surprised to see so many local places around me already are on board, but they still have a long way to go.
Security. Google Wallet will make you use a PIN to make a purchase. In addition, the payment information will be stored in a chip separate from the phone’s main operating system.
My Google Wallet Wishlist
I’m looking forward to Google Wallet becoming one of the best personal finance apps soon. However, in order for me to embrace the Google Wallet technology, here’s what I want the app to include to make sure we can still maximize all of our credit card incentives:
- Ability to rotate cards. Since the best credit cards rewards rotate 5% cash rewards quarterly, there needs to be a way to track changing offers and change which cards you want to use at each store based on the reward calendar for each card.
- Loyalty card integration. Google noted that you’ll be able to story loyalty cards. I hope the integration is seamless and the app will automatically apply my loyalty cards wherever I’m shopping.
- Track spending tiers. One of the ways to maximize credit card cash rewards is to reach spending tiers on various credit cards. I’m expecting Google Wallet to track the spending tiers for us so we know which card to use at any point in time to maximize cash back.
- Decipher spending categories. Knowing the best cash reward credit card for any given purchase often comes down to classifying a store as a department store, drugstore, home and garden store, or any of the dozens of other classifications. I’m hoping Google Wallet will finally help us figure out what type of store it is to use the appropriate card.
- Block balance transfer cards. Right now, if I have a balance transfer offer on a certain card, I take the card out of my wallet and store it in my safe to make sure I don’t end up with an accidental purchase on it. I’m hoping Google Wallet will have an easy way to move cards in and out of use easily.
- Evaluate purchase minimums. There are a few programs that stretch bonuses points when your purchase amount is small. Google Wallet should have the ability to divert purchases below a certain threshold to those cards to maximize points.
- Minimum purchases. Some of the offers from a few years ago have requirements of one or two purchases a month to keep our offers going. Wouldn’t it be nice for Google Wallet to handle the allocation of these purchases each month for us?
- Track intro requirements. Many of our free money offers revolve around making a certain number or level of purchases. I’d love it if Google Wallet would divert purchases to a new card until I’ve cleared the intro requirements.
- Remember my birthday. Google Wallet will need to remember my birthday month and divert enough payments to take advantage of the Discover birthday bonus each year.
I realize my wishlist is probably a little further down the road, but I can see this app actually being a very powerful tool to help us all manage and maximize our credit card use. And I’ve got to think there’s at least a few credit card junkies working on the app at Google who have the same sort of requirements…. right?
Google Wallet Cards
Right now, Google Wallet works with Citi Mastercards and their Google prepaid card. But they promise they’ll add more soon. The Citi cards will work if they are PayPass eligible. Here are a few Citi cards that we covered recently that should work with Google Wallet:
- Citi Platinum Select with 0% balance transfer for 21 months
- Citi Dividend Platinum Select with $150 Cash Back
- Citi ThankYou Preferred Card with $250 in Gift Cards
What’s on your wishlist for Google Wallet?