Google launches virtual cards and digital wallet

Google is collaborating with Mastercard, Visa and American Express to launch Google Wallet, which will store virtual card numbers on Chrome and Android.

Starting this summer, Google will roll out the virtual cards feature to help users in 40 countries safely store numbers for payment cards.

There are also plans to include credentials for boarding passes, vaccine passes, and event tickets in the digital wallet.

The initiative is a long-awaited move after Apple rolled out its Apple Wallet (formerly known as Apple Passbook) for iOS users in 2012.

Users will be able to pay with the wallet wherever Google Pay is accepted.

The creation of encrypted virtual card numbers, is aimed at making transactions online more secure, as they can be removed more easily if a merchant’s website is hacked, preventing actual card numbers from being stolen.

Google also said that plans are underway to enable users to store their driver’s license on their wallet later this year.

When the wallet goes live in the summer, shoppers with Visa, American Express, Mastercard or Capital One card on Android or Autofill on Chrome will be able to replace card numbers with virtual alternatives when making payments online.

For all future transactions, the virtual card number will be available to use via Autofill, removing the requirement to manually enter card details such as the CVV at checkout.

Users will be able to manage payment card details at pay.google.com, which will also store transactions made on the virtual card.

In a blog explaining the benefits of the digital wallet, product manager Dong Min Kim said that aside from convenience, security is a key driver: “It's really hard for someone to take your phone and use your Google Wallet, or to take your card and add it to their own phone.

“Your financial institution will verify who you are before you can add a card to your phone, and you can set a screen lock so a stranger can’t access what’s on your device. And should you lose your device, you can remotely locate, lock or even wipe it from “Find My Device.”

Kim added that if credit or debit cards are lost, and a user is waiting for a replacement, they can still use that card with Google Wallet because of the virtual number attached to it.

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