Digital Dollars: New Google app replaces your credit card with your phone

First there was light. Then there was man. Now there is Google. In this age of phones smarter than we are, it was only a matter of time before Google would take them one step further: introducing the company’s fresh new application, Google Wallet.

This app is made to replace your credit card. At the register, you simply input a PIN into your phone for security purposes, scan your phone on a MasterCard PayPass, collect your receipt and carry on your merry way. That old bulky wallet will soon be a thing of the past.

“I don’t honestly see what the point of it is,” said David Tibble, freshman in DGS, doubtful of its practicality. “If you’re carrying your phone with you, you would probably carry your credit card with you too.”

Skepticism seemed to be a common initial reaction among students and faculty at the University.

“I’m unsure of what the technology is that’s involved,” said John Kindt, professor of business administration, “but there would be significant legal thresholds that they would have to cross to ensure the legality of what they’re doing, including privacy and security issues.”

Boasting a higher security level than credit cards, Google begs to differ. While this application is only available on one phone (the Nexus S) one provider (Sprint) and one credit card company (MasterCard) for now, Google hopes to expand the technology in the future.

“Google has been a bit aggressive in pushing the envelope when it comes to some types of legal issues, then involving itself in test cases to resolve those issues,” said Kindt. “They’ve got the assets to do that … but that is not good business policy.”

For those who do not own a MasterCard, Google offers its very own pre-paid Google card — it has, claims the company, all the benefits of a credit card with none of that cumbersome plastic. The Google card would function solely on the app — no tangible card and no swiping necessary.

According to the product’s official website, Google Wallet holds offers, loyalty cards, credit cards, just like you have today in your regular wallet. Eventually, it hopes to carry boarding passes, tickets and much more. The website also contains video tutorials, in-depth explanations and Google’s prospects for future expansion.

In the vast sea of endless apps, Google has the resources to propel Google Wallet forward; whether it fizzles out or shoots into popularity, it’ll be able to make a name for itself. For one, it is run by the Google enterprise. This means it can afford to partner with more big-name companies to develop and tweak any issues.

“It’s just another thing we trust to some technology we can’t see and don’t think about,” said Kevin Chunko, a DMA music student. “It’s easier to spend.”

With fewer and fewer concrete representations of money in this day and age, this seems to be the case more often than not. The concept of “spare change” is becoming a thing of the past.

Will Google Wallet last on the market? Time — and the expanse of the company’s public relations — will tell.

“People have been wrong about other things lasting,” says Tibble. “People thought the iPhone was a joke, and look what that turned out to be.”