When Google demonstrated their Wallet mobile payment system at a press conference this spring, many pundits were claiming it represents the end of credit cards. Maybe they’re right, but here are 3 situations where Google Wallet isn’t practical…
1. When you are dining at a restaurant
I’m not talking about “dining” at McDonalds, but rather the real restaurants where you are seated and served by a waiter. When the bill comes due, we all know how you pay – the waiter has to take your credit card to the back, ring you up, and then come back with the printed copies for you to fill out and sign.
Now honestly, would you feel comfortable having a waiter runaway with your phone – out of your sight – for an undetermined amount of time? Even if there’s a feature to lock your phone (and prevent access to your email, etc.) it’s still concerning. What is your phone was mixed up with someone else’s? What if it was dropped?
2. When you have a high-end credit card
If your credit is shot and all you have is a prepaid card, then the covertness of using that account through Google wallet is probably a good thing. But on the flip side, what if you are paying for a high-end “status” credit card?
If someone shells out $450/year for the Platinum card from American Express or even $95 for the Sapphire Preferred card from Chase, you can bet there’s a good chance they want that card to be seen by others. A little digitized picture of the AmEx Platinum card on your phone’s screen doesn’t quite have the same cachet as the real shiny thing. Nor the heavy and unique material which the Chase Sapphire Preferred is made out of.
The bottom line is that while using a credit card to impress people may sound childish, the truth is that in some parts of the world, the card you carry is a status symbol not much different than a piece of jewelry.
3. When you can’t rely on your phone
The iPhone 4s battery problem is a perfect example as to why using it as a wallet can be unreliable. If you’re on the go and haven’t had the chance to charge up, do you really feel safe knowing that your wallet will die as soon as your battery dies?
Another example of when you can’t rely on your phone is during certain activities. When I go surfing, I like how I can zip my credit card up inside my wetsuit – if it gets wet, no biggie. But water activities aside, there are plenty of other situations; working out at the gym, going for a jog, playing basketball, etc. Having a credit card and ID in your pocket is a heck of a lot easier than a clunky phone when you’re doing things like that.
A lot of potential, but not a replacement
Despite these drawbacks, there’s no denying that Google Wallet has a lot of potential. In fact for someone like me who uses a bazillion different cards to maximize cash back and airline miles, something like this would make it a heck of a lot easier than carrying around a fat stack of plastic. But if anyone thinks the old-fashioned credit card will go completely extinct because of it, that probably won’t be happening… or at least not for quite a while.
About Jakk: Jakk Ogden is the founder of Technology Blogged. 25, with a love for good writing, you'll find Jakk playing 'Drag Racing' on his Nexus 5 and rocking a pair of Grado headphones. If you love technology, be sure to subscribe to his feed for unique editorials. View author profile.