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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 – 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

Politicians reconsider PPP rules too cumbersome for small businesses

(BUSINESS FINANCE) The PPP loans may have some changes coming soon, to help small businesses even more by extending the time they have to spend the money.

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Congress has reported talks over fixing parts of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a key program designed to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Changes could range between small tweaks to an overhaul of program requirements. Congress remains divided over a phase four relief bill (passed in the House last week) which includes several of those PPP changes.

The PPP was created to provide forgivable loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Although the Treasury is continuing to offer updated guidance, any significant changes will require approval from Congress.

One of the major potential changes is an extension to the eight-week time frame for businesses to spend their loan money. Senator Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) is advocating the change. He told reporters “I think the more important thing to change is the time frame in which they can use it for,” Rubio told reporters. “We do need to give them more time to spend those monies.” The hope is to pass those changes before the first PPP loan recipients reach their deadline in early June.

Other changes proposed in the House bill include extending the spending time period to 24-weeks and eliminating the requirement for 75 percent of loan spending on payroll in order to qualify for full forgiveness. The flexibility could allow recipients to allocate money towards rent, another challenge facing small business owners. While Senate Republicans haven’t shot down that option, they’ve voiced concern on the spending rule which was originally designed to keep workers employed. Meanwhile, Democrats argue for flexibility which could support businesses with fixed costs. Both sides are open to discussing a 50 percent payroll and 50 percent additional cost breakdown in a new PPP changes.

The Small Business Administration has reported $195 billion from the $310 billion of the second tranche of PPP has been approved. With no defined plan to reopen the country, small businesses are counting on relief programs. Senior White House advisor Kevin Hassett has said the government can’t continue to lend money to businesses indefinitely. “It is something we can do through Jun, I would, guess if there’s enough cash for that.”

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Business Finance

Unless you call your representative, the IRS will be forced to screw PPP recipients

(BUSINESS FINANCE) Small business owners, can your Covid-19 loans really be forgiven? “Free money” never sounded so good…or bad. The CARES act missed a vital tax hole.

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The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) portion of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was hailed as a revolutionary life line to small businesses that had to shutter their doors against the plague.

Basically, the Feds said: Keep your expenses up, pay your staff so they don’t have to go on assistance, and not only will we loan you the cash to do so, so long as you can prove it was spent stimulating your business, we’ll not only forgive the loan, it won’t be taxed as income.

Right said, Fed. But some sharp-eyed readers of the letter of the law say they’re too savvy for these loans, and here’s why.

It was announced on April 30th that anything paid with PPP payments won’t be tax deductible.

Specifically, the IRS says, expenses that qualify a business owner loan forgiveness cannot be deducted from 2020’s tax filings, in order to keep people from getting “double tax benefit[s].” You can read up on the tax code citations and legal precedents right here, straight from the tax horse’s mouth.

So what’s happening here is you can “enjoy” free money from the government, but if you were counting on it being non-taxable income, then you’d best count again.

I may be a simple country (adjacent) April, but is the purpose of handing out money somehow… NOT to put business owners AHEAD?

This move strikes me as a ship throwing someone in the water a life-vest… then sailing off without reeling them in.

‘Well you don’t want people to double-dip,’ is a rebuttal I’d expect. Or ‘that’s how the CARES Act was written,’ but right now we’re dealing with people and their businesses needing EXTRA. Not ‘a bit,’ not ‘enough,’ but quantifiably EXTRA help in order to do better than just tread water. We NEED that extra dip… and individual bowls for everyone while we’re at it.

“No half measures,” as a wise, narcissistic fictional criminal once said. Brian Cranston won an Emmy for delivering that line, so I figure it’s stand-by-able.

As of right now, there’s not much that can be done except for business owners to gather and lobby their representatives en masse to alter the language of the CARES Act, or add an amendment to it that allows the IRS to let the deductions business owners need to slide.

As is, strict interpretation of the law doesn’t give our beloved agents enough wiggle room to LET this money be deducted. And I’m guessing that the IRS isn’t really the type of agency to DO interpretative judgements as a matter of course so… the ball is in Congress’ court on this one.

Fortunately, it seems like they’re taking it and running with it!

On May 12, a bill aptly named the HEROES Act was proposed in the house, and it clarifies: “For purposes of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and notwithstanding any other provision of law, any deduction and the basis of any property shall be determined without regard to whether any amount is excluded from gross income under section 20233 of this Act or section 1106(i) of the CARES Act.”

They’re reaching past the last stimulus bundle (that I haven’t received my share of yet by the way, cough cough) with a total of three trillion as a distribution goal. That’s a three followed by twelve zeroes, sweeties. And this is all cold, hard, tax free, DEDUCTIBLE cash.

My advice here? Get your letter-writing hands ready, business owners! It’s not a law YET, so keep pushing your politicians as best you can, and telling your friends, (and sharing our articles) And best of luck.


Sidenote from the Editor: Research for this story includes insights from Caleb Ellinger at Ellinger Services (CPA wizard (our word, not his) in Austin who is very well known as serving startup and freelance communities).

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Business Finance

Companies seek brownie points by returning PPP cash they shouldn’t have applied for

(BUSINESS FINANCE) It turns out some large national companies received millions of dollars of the PPP loans that were pitched as for small businesses, what gives?

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The CARES Act, passed last month in response to the COVID19 pandemic, allocated over $370 billion to small businesses in the form of PPP loans. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was hastily ran through Congress, with many of the small details left for the SBA, IRS and other entities to iron out, even though the legislation was over 800 pages.

Now, Bloomberg is reporting that many small businesses are returning loans as the Trump administration issues new guidance for these loans.

PPP loans- confusion over eligibility, rules and restrictions

The PPP was designed to incentivize employers to maintain payroll through the pandemic. The law’s intent was to help small businesses, non-profits and smaller organizations without other resources.
Within just a few days, the money was exhausted.

As Congress allocated more money for the program, it came to light that many larger businesses made requests for the money. Shake Shack, a national chain, received $10 million. Ruth’s Chris steakhouse received $20 million. Even the Los Angeles Lakers received about $4.6 million through the PPP. It should be noted that each of these entities returned the money. Technically, each of the entities qualified under the PPP, too.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the SBA announced that all PPP loans over $2 million will be reviewed to ensure borrower eligibility. The SBA continues to provide guidance for the PPP loans. One financial expert likened it to building the plane while it was still in the air. Some companies are receiving guidance that no publicly traded companies qualify, even though these companies have received PPP funding, and some intend to keep it.

If a company doesn’t qualify for the PPP, they could face criminal charges for making false certifications on their loan applications. This could include statements that indicate the PPP funding is necessary to support ongoing operations.

Return the PPP money or not?

The SBA is giving borrowers a deadline of May 14 to return PPP loans without any legal trouble. Some companies are returning the money, not only because of public backlash, but to avoid problems. The government is sending a message that it will be vigilant over the use of PPP funding. There are still so many questions about how the loans will work and will be forgiven, it pays to tread carefully if you’ve received more than $2 million in funding under PPP.

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