Amid a slew of privacy and security scares last month, Google disabled the use of prepaid debit-style cards via Google Wallet. After various updates (with a few key security tweaks) the feature is back, none the worse for wear. Of course, that and five bucks will get you a Starbucks coffee… so Google did Wallet users all a solid and added $5 to their balance. Google’s probably one of the only companies in the world with both the spare cash and the inclination to do something like that – and besides, it’ll probably cut down on the likelihood of a class-action lawsuit being filed. Probably.
Google’s patched the primary security issue in Wallet, wherein a thief or other unscrupulous person could steal someone’s phone, wipe the data from the Waller app itself and have access to the money associated with the phone. (Google wallet loads money directly onto a device, not a central account.) The earlier security hole, wherein a rooted phone could gain access with some custom code, is presumably still present. To combat this, Google now alerts rooted Android users when loading up the Google Wallet app, discouraging them from actually using it – but not preventing them from doing so.
While concerns about the service remain, users seem to be returning to their regular payment habits with an uneasy apprehension. A little monetary reassurance might go a long way towards demonstrating Google’s commitment to the platform, something that’s definitely needed as there’s still very few retailers supporting it. Some users are reporting that they aren’t seeing the extra five bucks in their account, especially when loading a non-Google Play version on a Verizon Galaxy Nexus. It should be noted that you need to have been using the service before this week to qualify.