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5 things you should know about using Google Wallet

The Google Wallet concept is simple: give your smartphone the ability to replace your wallet. Eliminate the need for cash, plastic, and rewards cards when shopping

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google wallet

google wallet

Google Wallet – next gen mobile payment system

Google Wallet is a mobile payment system designed to store credit and debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and coupons, all in one place; allowing you to access them quickly when you need them. Using Near Field Communication (NFC), Android users can “tap and pay” at any MasterCard PayPass enabled terminal.

Since Google Wallet recently no longer requires the use of NFC, although it is still an option, coupled with added support for iOS it has become infinitely more functional. What do you need to know about it and why does it matter?

Here are the top five things entrepreneurs should know about Google Wallet and why it matters for business:

1. Set up

Setting up Google Wallet is not difficult, but there are a few things you need to do. Currently, the app can the used with Android devices (2.3 and higher) and iOS devices (iOS 6 or higher). The first time you open the app you will be asked to sign into your Google account and create a unique PIN for future access. For iOS, you will be asked to grant permission to contacts, location, and notifications, as well. Then Google will send you’re an email confirming you have activated Google Wallet.

Once you have signed in, you will need to connect your desired payment methods. You can link bank accounts or credit/debit cards. You will also be able to see your Wallet balance, offers, loyalty programs, and transaction history, from the app home page.

2. Storing cards

You can store not only debit/credit cards, but also that wallet-full of loyalty cards as well. Now you can link your grocery store, gasoline, and movie theater rewards to your Google Wallet and stop carrying that pocket of plastic loyalty tags. You can also add merchant gift cards, avoiding the scramble to find the card when you finally make it to the store to use it.

Google Wallet is all about convenience: adding a new card can be done securely from the app, or the web site. If you are using NFC, you will want to set the card you use the most to “default,” so that when you tap-to-pay it will always be the one in use. To do this, tap the “select card” button below the card you want and you will see a green “selected card” icon below it. You can change this setting at any time.

3. Sending money via your phone to anyone with an email address

How many times have you wished you could instantly hand someone money? An employee that forgets the company credit card when they go out to purchase office supplies, or neglects to take the card when taking a client for dinner; many instances like this are not only inconvenient but cost you money.

With Google Wallet, you can send someone money with two taps of your phone. But before you can send money, you will need to verify your identity with Google. You can do this by tapping “send money” and then “verify your identity” on the bottom of the page.

4. Digital receipts let you know right away if someone has stolen your credit card

Digital receipts are another feature of Google Wallet. With most banks having fraud alert programs in place, where you can receive an email or text when you card is used, this is not new, but Google Wallet makes it easy to set up. It works like this: let’s say you are at a business conference in San Francisco and someone lifts your credit card information and then buys a stereo in Los Angeles.

Without alerts, you may be waiting up to thirty days for your credit card bill to arrive to notice the fraudulent charge; with Digital Receipts you know in seconds. You can see every purchase you have made with Google Wallet. If you see something suspicious, you can call your credit card company and alert them immediately. Saving you money and preserving your credit score.

5. Security

Anxious about security? It is hard not to be. Google’s response to the possibility of someone getting close to your phone to read sensitive data, is, “The NFC antenna in your phone is only activated when the screen is powered on, and even if the antenna is on and in proximity of a reader, payment credentials can only be transmitted from the Secure Element to a payment terminal if you first enter your Google Wallet PIN.” So, unless someone can bypass the PIN feature, you are as safe as you are with any other information you submit over the Internet on a daily basis.

Also, free Google Wallet Purchase Protection covers 100% of eligible unauthorized Google Wallet transactions reported within 180 days of purchase. Google Wallet uses a dual-PIN system not only to unlock the phone, but also to make the purchase by activating the NFC chip when in range. There is also encryption technology in place to protect your card information as it passes to the merchant’s station. And if you lose your phone, you can disable and delete all information in your Wallet from any device. So you do not have to worry about someone getting all your information.

Using Google Wallet is free and can be downloaded from the Play Store and the App Store. However, if you send money to someone via credit or debit card there is a transaction fee (2.9% with a minimum $0.30 fee), otherwise you are free to send and receive money as often as you would like with no charge.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Business Finance

Clyde helps smaller brands to offer product protection programs

(BUSINESS FINANCE) For small brands that sell not-so-little items, Clyde is a big deal! Now you can offer product protection normally reserved for the big brands.

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For small businesses seeking to adapt to their new or growing online presence, Clyde, a platform allowing small business consumers to receive extended warranties and protection on purchases may be the answer.

Due to the current pandemic, online retailers have reported on average, a 200% increase in digital sales. Online commerce is only expected to continue its growth with 52% of consumers suggesting they will not return to in-store shopping, post COVID-19. With online shopping in demand, stolen packages, damaged products, and lost goods are also surging.

If you’re ordering from a superstore like Amazon, Target, or Walmart, chances are your items are protected and will be quickly replaced upon a discovery of any of the above issues. However, for smaller companies, protection on consumer goods is usually not offered, not because smaller companies don’t want to give their customers this option, but because finding insurance for small businesses is hard.

Clyde, a company working to provide product protection programs to small retailers through the navigation and connection to insurance companies, intends to change that. Clyde gives small businesses or as their CEO, Brandon Gell, would say, “everybody that’s not Amazon and Walmart,” the opportunity to provide their customers with individual product protection or an extended warranty contract that can be purchased at checkout.

Clyde also provides the retailer with a portion of the insurance profit, serving as an incentive for smaller companies who usually get left out of this profitable market. Product protection is responsible for a whopping $50 billion market, so getting in on the game is key. The company also provides sellers with critical data analytics, product performance statistics, that otherwise would not be obtainable to smaller companies.

Not only is Clyde protecting consumer purchases, but its mantra acts in the best interest of smaller companies normally left out of big commerce perks. The company’s dedication to provide smaller businesses with access to revenue and its consumers with product protection at a time where the demand is higher than ever may allow this company to flourish.

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Business Finance

Will cash still be king after COVID-19?

(EDITORIAL) Physical cash has been a preferred mode of payment for many, but will COVID-19 push us to a cashless future at an even faster rate?

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No more Cash

Say goodbye to the almighty dollar, at least the paper version. Cashless is where it’s at, and COVID-19 is at least partially to thank–or blame, depending on your perspective.

Let’s face it, we were already headed that direction. Apps like Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay have made cashless transactions painless enough that even stubborn luddites were beginning to migrate to these convenient payment methods. Then COVID-19 hit the world and suddenly, handling cash is a potential danger.

In 2020, the era of COVID-19, the thought of all the possible contaminants traveling around on an old dollar bill makes most of us cringe. Keep your nasty sock money, boob money, and even your pocket money to yourself, sir or madam, because I’ll have none of it! Nobody knows or wants to know where your money has been. We like the idea of taking your money, sure, but not the idea of actually touching it…ewww, David. Just ewww.

There is no hard evidence that cash can transmit COVID-19 from one person to the other, but perception is a powerful agent for changing our behavior. It seems plausible, considering the alarming rate this awful disease is moving through the world. Nobody has proven it can’t move with money.

There was a time when cash was king. Everyone took cash; everyone preferred it. Of course, credit cards have been around forever, but they’ve always been just as problematic as they are convenient. Like GrubHub and similar third party food delivery apps, banks end up charging both the business and the consumer with credit cards. It’s a trap. Cash cut out the (greedy) middle man.

Plus, paying with a credit card could be a pain. Try paying a taxi driver with a credit card prior to, oh, about 2014 when Uber hit the scene big time. Most drivers refused to take cash, because credit cards take a percentage off the top. Enter rideshare companies like Uber. Then in walks Square. Next PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay enter the scene. Suddenly, cabbies would like you to know they now take alternate forms of payment, and with a smile.

It’s good in a way, but it may end up hurting small businesses even more in the long run. The harsh reality of this current moment is that you shouldn’t be handling cash. No less an authority than the CDC recommends contactless forms of payment whenever possible. However, those cabbies weren’t wrong.

The banking industry has been pushing for a reduced reliance on cash since the 1950s, when they came up with the idea of credit cards. It was a stroke of evil genius to come up with more ways to expedite our lifelong journey into crushing debt.

The financial titans are very, very good at what they do, at the expense of all the rest of us. The New York Times reported on the trend, noting:

“In Britain alone, retailers paid 1.3 billion pounds (about $1.7 billion) in third-party fees in 2018, up £70 million from the year before, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Payment and processing companies such as PayPal (whose stock is up about 55 percent this year) and Adyen, based in the Netherlands (up 72 percent), also stand to gain.”

All kinds of banking-related industries stand to benefit as well. Maybe we’ll go back to spending physical cash one day, but I don’t think there’s any hurry. Fewer old grandpas are hiding their cash in their proverbial mattresses, and the younger, most tech-savvy generation seems perfectly content to use their smart phones for everything.

We get it. Convenience plus cleanliness is a sweet combo. If only cashless payments weren’t such a racket.

If this trend towards a cashless future continues, future travelers may not experience what it’s like to fumble with foreign currency, to smile and shrug and hand over a handful of bills because they have no idea how many baht, pesos, or rand those snacks are. They may not experience the realization that other countries’ bills come in different shapes and sizes, and may not come home with the most affordable souvenirs (coins and bills).

We shall see what the future holds. Odds are, it may not be cash money, at least in the U.S. I hope the cashless movement makes room for everyone to participate without being penalized. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, people. We need to find more ways to ease the path for people, not callously profit off of them.

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Business Finance

How NASA helps small businesses reach for the stars

(BUSINESS FINANCE) NASA has been providing $51 million in grants to small businesses and innovators.

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NASA grants

With the political and social climate that we are all trying to survive this summer, there only seems to be a few things that bring us a light of hope. For some it’s the little gestures that keeps the smiles on our faces; little helping hands that keep us going from day to day. But thanks to some forethought in our government system, there are some rather large helping hands coming down from the top as well. The organization that sends people to the moon is also making some dreams come true here on Earth.

NASA has just announced their latest batch of small business grants. Grants that amount to a total of approximately $51 million. This money is being sent out at the most crucial early-stage of small business funding. Over 300 businesses are receiving up to $125,000 to develop and bring new technologies to the world.

This grant system has been in place nearly as long as NASA itself. The Small Business Innovation Research/Technology transfer program is designed to bring in entrepreneurs and inventors’ ideas, and combine them with NASA’s assets to bring their dreams to fruition, bringing something from the lab to the marketplace.

It is set up into a three-phase system. According to The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), the first phase, Idea Generation, provides grantees with up to $125,000 for a 6 – 12 month period to “establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts and to determine the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II”. If they succeed, they may be eligible to move onto Phase II, where they will be awarded a new grant of $750,000 for 2 years to continue the R&D efforts and start on a Prototype Development. Phase III is called the Infusion/Commercialization stage and it is the culmination of years of work and grant access for these businesses. This also includes a few extra requirements like matching funding for things like marketing.

Over the years, the selection has covered numerous disciplines with an extraordinary range of industries. Some of the highlights this year are high-power solar arrays, a smart air traffic control system for urban use, a water purification system for use on the moon, and improved lithium-ion batteries. These are just a few of the many innovative projects. The list covers a huge assortment, but a few people have noted the number of neuromorphic computing efforts as well.

This list is updated periodically throughout the year as each deadline is met from previous grant holders. It’s a constantly updating assortment of tomorrow’s toys, and a great way to look toward the future.

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