Google Wallet just received a major update to include a feature that was preventing so many people from signing up for a long time: support for all major credit cards. Wallet users can now link their Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express cards to their Google Wallet account to easily pay from those sources.
Previously, the only payment options Google Wallet offered were Citi MasterCard and the prepaid debit card built-in. The former isn’t widely used compared to other credit cards and the latter meant in order to pay for anything, you’d have to transfer money onto the prepaid debit card every so often and then checkout with Google Wallet. It was tedious and an unnecessary hassle.
Now just tap “Add a credit or debit card,” punch in the information assuming you have one of the four major brands, and you’re good to go making Google Wallet mobile payments.
This puts Google Wallet just one small step ahead of Apple with NFC and mobile payments. Apple is expected to include NFC in the next-generation iPhone and I’m betting it will probably be integrated with Passbook in iOS 6 as well, but that doesn’t get here until the fall. Once that arrives though, people will probably flock to Apple’s payment service since Wallet’s reputation is already in the trash.
The list of devices Google Wallet is available on is still dreadfully small. You can download the free app from Google Play for the Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T Galaxy Nexus, the Sprint LG Viper, the Sprint and Virgin Mobile LG Optimus, Sprint HTC Evo 4G, Samsung Galaxy S III, and Nexus 7.