12 May - 3 min read
Google kicked off its two-day annual developer conference, Google I/O yesterday, revealing several new products and services that it expects to roll out in the future. Among these include the introduction of virtual cards in Chrome and Android, as well as a new Google Wallet app.
The launch of virtual cards on Chrome and Android is essentially aimed at offering another layer of security for your payment information, as it will hide – or disguise – your credit or debit card number when you make purchases on the web.
“When you use autofill to enter your payment details at checkout, virtual cards will add an additional layer of security by replacing your actual card number with a distinct, virtual number. This eliminates the need to manually enter card details like the CVV at checkout, and they’re easy to manage on Google Pay – where you can enable the feature for eligible cards, access your virtual card number, and see recent virtual card transactions,” the senior vice president of Core Systems at Google, Jen Fitzpatrick explained in a blog entry.
Aside from that, every virtual card generated can only be used for one specific transaction, although you also have the option to use it for recurring transactions in the case of a subscription. This feature is slated to be launched for users in the United States first – in the summer of 2022 – with Google working with financial service providers Capital One, Visa, and American Express to do so. Meanwhile, support for Mastercard will arrive later, and this feature is also expected to be provided for other regions eventually.
As for the new Google Wallet, this app will allow you to store things like your credit and loyalty cards, digital IDs, vaccination cards, travel passes, digital keys, and more. You’ll also be able to make payments in selected stores via Google Wallet, on top of enjoying various other conveniences, such as getting reminders and updates related to items you’ve saved in your Wallet. For instance, if you’ve saved your boarding pass for a flight in your Google Wallet, it will notify you of any delays or changes to your flight.
That said, the roll-out of this feature will differ depending on your location. Users in selected markets may see the existing Google Pay – Google’s payment feature – get updated to become Google Wallet. Meanwhile, in some other markets, Google Pay will continue to exist alongside the Google Wallet app, with Google Pay being used primarily for payments and money management and Wallet to store your payment and non-payment assets. No specific date for the launch of Google Wallet has been provided as of yet.
Both of these features are not necessarily revolutionary or new – Samsung Pay has been using virtual card number generation (dubbed tokenisation) for several years now. The South Korean tech company also announced its own Samsung Wallet earlier this year, with functions similar to the Google Wallet. However, thanks to the sheer size of Chrome and Android users, Google’s new products will expand the amount of users who get to enjoy the enhanced security features especially at a time when online frauds are prevalent.
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