With Google Wallet, you can forget about carrying plastic cards with you at all times. With a simple swipe on your smartphone, the virtual wallet stores your card information and makes it easier to shop online and in stores.
Launched in 2011, Google's payment solution not only makes shopping more efficient, but also allows you to send money to others, take advantage of loyalty programs and more.
New to Google Wallet? No worries. Here's everything you need to know to start using the free digital wallet app.
1. Sign up
To sign up for Google Wallet, you'll need to have a Google account. To create a free Google account, click here.
If you already have a Google account, you can go ahead and add Google Wallet by using your existing name and password. On wallet.google.com, click “Sign In” in the top right corner.
Then, set up your Google Wallet by entering your personal and billing information, and click “Accept and create.”
2. Check personal and privacy settings
You’ll want to make sure your information and settings are correct. To do this, click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of your Google Wallet homepage.
To edit your name and address, simply click the “Edit” button to the left of the field.
On the settings page, you’ll see there is a button that says “Verify.”
Verifying your identity will allow you to access certain features online at wallet.google.com and on the app. These features include activating a free Google Wallet Card with 24/7 fraud monitoring and receiving notifications. Google asks for this information because “financial regulations require that payment providers take steps to verify their customers' identities.”
Create your Wallet pin
Stay safe by creating a custom four-digit pin to protect your Wallet. This is an extra, opt-in security step, and we highly recommend it. When you send money, open the app or withdraw money from ATMs with your Google Wallet Card (explained in the fifth step), you’ll use this pin number.
To set up a Wallet pin, click "Set PIN" in settings. Choose a four-digit passcode and click "Create PIN."
3. Install the mobile app
To install the app, visit the Google Wallet homepage, and click “Install now” at the top right corner. Select Android or iOS. This will direct you to the Google Play or iTunes store to download the app for free.
Once the app has downloaded, open it and log in with your Google account and Wallet pin.
4. Add money to Google Wallet
Your Google Wallet balance is the money stored in your virtual wallet. With this balance, you can send money to others, shop online and make in-store purchases with your Google Wallet Card.
You can add money to your balance from your bank account for free, but to add money from your credit or debit card, there is a flat 2.9% fee.
Here’s how to add money to your Google Wallet balance on the desktop site:
- Visit wallet.google.com and click on “Payment methods” in the left-hand menu.
- Click “Add to Wallet Balance,” select how you would like to add money and type in the amount of money you want to add.
- Click “Add money.”
Here’s how to add money to your Google Wallet balance on the mobile app:
- Tap the three lines in the upper left-hand corner, select “Wallet Balance" and tap “Add money.”
- Select how you would like to add money and type in the amount of money you want to add.
- Tap “Add money.”
5. Activate your Google Wallet Card
You can use a Google Wallet Card to spend money from your Google Wallet balance. The card is linked to your account, and you can use it for in-store purchases. There are no fees to order and activate the card.
On the desktop site, activate your Google Wallet Card by selecting “Wallet Card and app.” Once you’ve verified your identity.
On the mobile app, activate your Google Wallet Card by selecting “Get your card” under “My Wallet.”
Your Google Wallet Card will be sent directly to your mailing address.
For more information on how the Google Wallet Card works, click here.
6. Make purchases in-store and online
To use your Google Wallet to make online purchases, just look for the “Buy with Google” button on apps when you checkout. Popular sites that offer this are 1-800 Flowers, Five Guys, Domino's Pizza, Uber, Toys “R” Us and more. You can also buy from Google Play, Drive, YouTube and other Google properties.
For a complete list of apps and websites that offer Google Wallet purchases, click here.
To use your Google Wallet Card in stores, choose either credit or debit at checkout and type in your Google Wallet pin (if asked). The card is accepted at many MasterCard locations, and you're able to spend up to a limit of $5,000 every 24 hours. This limit does not include cash withdrawals from ATMs or banks.
If you’re using the mobile app on an Android device, you can easily tap your phone to pay anywhere that has a contactless payment terminal. Hold the device one to two inches away from the payment reader, enter your Wallet pin (if you set one up) and let the cashier know you are paying with credit.
7. Send money to another person
To send money to someone, click the "Send Money" button on the desktop site or mobile app. If you haven't successfully verified your information or skipped this step, you may be asked to verify your identity again. In order to do this, it may ask you to “Verify by phone” or “Submit documentation online.” Follow the directions on your screen.
Once you have verified your identity, you can send money to any friend in the US with an email address — and best of all, transferring money is fast and easy. Sending money directly from your bank account or Google Wallet Balance is free, but sending money using a credit or debit card has a flat fee of 2.9% per transaction. Receiving money is always free.
Here are the three ways to send money to another person:
- On the desktop site, click “Send Money” on the left sidebar.
- Open the mobile app and tap “Send Money.”
- In a Gmail message, click the “$” icon in the attachment field.
If your recipient does not have a Google Wallet account, he or she will be asked to sign up for one to accept the money you sent.
8. Other Google Wallet features
Join loyalty programs
If you are an existing member of any loyalty programs, you can scan the barcode or type the numbers on the card to add it to this section.
When you are in the Google Wallet app, you can join loyalty programs by clicking on merchant names. If you join programs from the app, you’ll get to check your status and points updates, as well as receive messages from the merchants.
To view your offers on the desktop site and mobile app, click on the “Loyalty programs” button. To join programs on the app, go to the “+” in the upper right corner of “Loyalty programs.”
View transaction history
On the desktop site, your transaction history is listed under “Transactions.” On the mobile app, your latest transactions will appear under “My Wallet.”
Local and national merchants offer deals that you can save to this section. When you see a “Get Offer” or “Save to Google” button, click on it to save the deal to this section. Since these offers link to your Google account, you can redeem them when using the app at checkout.
To view your offers on the desktop site and mobile app, click the “Offers” category.
"Orders" is a feature only available on the mobile app. Here, you can track your online purchases, view your order history and receive shipping alerts.
To opt-in to this feature, tap “Orders” in the sidebar.
When shopping online, it can become tedious to enter your address information every time you make a transaction. To make this process easier, you can save your address to this section on the desktop site.
You can use Google Wallet to make ongoing auto payments for magazine, app and game subscriptions. All of your subscriptions will be listed here.
To view your subscriptions, log in into the desktop site and choose “Subscriptions” from the menu.
You can give sites and apps permission to make all your purchases through Google Wallet. When checking out, instead of filling out forms, you can click the “Buy with Google” button. All of your authorized apps and sites will be listed here.
To view your authorizations, log in to the desktop site and choose “Authorizations” from the menu.
9. Delete your Google Wallet account
If you ever want to close your Google Wallet account, visit the Google Wallet contact form and fill out the required fields.
Still have questions? Visit the Google Wallet FAQ page to learn more.
Tags: APPS AND SOFTWARE, BEGINNERS GUIDE, GOOGLE WALLET, HOW TOS, MOBILE, MOBILE APPS, MONEY, Tech, TRAVEL & LEISURE, WORK & PLAY