Tip of the Week: How to Lock and Unlock Your Google Wallet Card

February 24, 2016

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b2ap3_thumbnail_google_wallet_400.jpgGoogle might be best known for its search engine and groups of desktop apps, but it’s also known for innovating and rattling the cages of how we live our lives. One of the ways it’s doing so is with Google Wallet, an app that’s designed to make sharing cash and money transfers online even easier. What a lot of people forget, however, is that Google Wallet, and its associated card, can still be the target of fraud.

While Google Wallet lets your business transfer money directly between Google Wallet accounts, as well as send money directly to your bank account, you can also get a physical Google Wallet card that acts as an ordinary debit card would. This card can be used anywhere a normal debit MasterCard can be used, and as such, it has the same probability of getting lifted as a normal credit or debit card would.

Just like banks that are able to resolve discrepancies in unauthorized transactions, Google Wallet takes a stance that they will cover 100 percent of verified unauthorized transactions. This helps to ensure users don’t have their cash stolen by someone who has made off with their card’s information. However, there’s a much easier way to help make sure that your Google Wallet card credentials aren’t being used for nefarious purposes, and it comes in the form of the Google Wallet smartphone app (or here, if you’re using an iPhone).

The Google Wallet app makes money transfer and the protection of your account from fraud much easier. Using the smartphone app, you can transfer money on your Wallet card to a linked bank account. You can also view transactions and recurring transfers to your bank account right through the app, or by visiting https://wallet.google.com.

The most important part of the Google Wallet app, however, is its ability to shut down your card within a moment’s notice. You can easily unlock your Google Wallet card using the slider within the app’s balance screen. Doing so will also lock your online Google Wallet account, so be careful that you unlock it in time for subscriptions that regularly hit your account.

Keep in mind that hackers who lift Google Wallet card numbers and credentials aren’t able to access your actual Wallet account; just the money that’s currently on it. This is because all that the hacker has is the card number, and since it acts only as a debit card, you don’t have to worry about hackers overdrawing and leaving you in debt. The primary danger that they present is stealing the money that’s currently in your account, and any cash that you add to it, unaware that the card number has been compromised.

In general, you should always keep your Google Wallet card locked when you don’t need to use it. This keeps hackers from making fraudulent purchases. You should also be monitoring your account activity and keeping an eye out for purchases that might not make sense. As previously mentioned, Google will reimburse those who are affected by fraudulent purchases, so be sure to contact them if you spot questionable activity on your account.

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