Google Wallet is making contactless payments more secure but more annoying

What you need to know

  • Google Wallet previously allowed users to make contactless payments in small amounts without unlocking their device, though the exact terms varied by region.
  • Last month, Google added a disclaimer to a related support article that warned users that their payment wouldn’t go through unless they had recently unlocked their device.
  • Now, this change is rolling out in Europe, and users took to social media to share their frustration with this change. 

Google is rolling out a change to Google Wallet that will make using contactless payments for small transactions more secure but also more frustrating. Google Wallet works in different ways based on a user’s region, and in Europe, it previously allowed users to pay in small amounts without unlocking their devices. The threshold varied by country, and in some places like the U.S., all transactions required a device unlock. Now, Google is making device unlocks a requirement for all users in all reasons, and not everyone is happy about the change. 

The company updated a support document last month related to tap-to-pay transactions, previewing the shift in Google Wallet behavior (via 9to5Google). 

“Coming soon, your credit and debit card won’t be charged for retail payments unless you’ve recently used a verification method, like your fingerprint or PIN,” the notice reads. “Some users may already need to verify to make a payment. If you’re asked to verify it’s you, complete verification steps on your device to make a payment.”

U.S. users won’t notice a change because device unlocks were already necessary for all transactions other than those using express transit. However, users in other countries could make transactions under a given threshold without unlocking in Google Wallet. For example, people in Canada could make payments under $100 CAD without unlocking their devices. In the U.K., that limit is around £45 GBP.

However, people in regions where device unlocks were not always required are finding they now need to authenticate each contactless payment in Google Wallet, no matter the transaction size. The only exception is if a user has recently used a verification method. So, if you authenticated Google Wallet a minute ago and haven’t locked your device, you won’t need to unlock it again. 

Though this change makes Google Wallet objectively more secure, not everyone is happy about it. A few users on Reddit criticized the shift, and others called it a non-issue. One thing many seem to agree on is that Google should have left the choice up to the end user whether to require device unlocks for every transaction. 

Google wallet verification each time with small payment. S23u… from r/GoogleWallet

Google’s choice to require verification for Google Wallet payments of all denominations has brought up an age-old debate in cybersecurity: do you want convenience or security? Users on social media disagree, but in this case, Google has made the decision for them. 

Via: Androidcentral

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