Shoppers in the Bay Area will now be able to leave their credit cards at home, as the new mobile-phone based payment method Google Wallet is now being accepted at several San Francisco Bay Area Gap stores. The new payment method allows customers to pay for items with their phones, meaning they can pack lighter for their shopping excursions. While Google wallet is being accepted in stores all over the world, Gap Inc. has only recently added it to their list of accepted payment methods. However, use of Google Wallet in Gap stores is currently limited to 65 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Introduced in May 2011, the Google Wallet works by storing users’ credit card numbers, as well as store loyalty cards and gift card numbers. Customers can download coupons and promotions for Google wallet as well. In addition, Google Wallet can be used at any store with a MasterCard PayPass terminal or Visa PayWave terminal. The new innovation allows consumers to keep all their payment methods with them on their phones, and also adds a further layer of security by requiring the user to enter a PIN on their mobile device. This can stop would-be thieves from stealing victims’ information, since they may be required to enter two PINs instead of just one.

Google does not directly charge either consumers or merchants to use this service. Instead, Google makes money by allowing stores to take out sponsored ads. In turn, many of the ads are for new promotions or offers at a user’s favorite retailers. Much of this information is likely to be welcomed by consumers, since it’s considered “value-added” information, rather than just plain marketing intended to remind them of a certain company’s name. Since this business model helps consumers save money while also making Google Wallet cheaper to accept than credit cards for most merchants, everyone will be happy.

Since Google Wallet will make spending easier for many consumers, it may behoove many shoppers to consider their options in case they overspend, leaving their bank accounts overdrawn or their credit cards maxed out. Many consumers weather these situations by taking out short term loans. While many of these options can be dangerous—like payday loans with their infamously high interest rates, for instance—other options like car title loans offer lower interest rates and longer repayment periods. While the best option is obviously to be smart about spending habits, making sure to never spend more money than you have, it’s still a good idea to remember that there are financial safety nets out there.

With Wallet, Google continues to revolutionize the way in which business is conducted in the 21st century, combining technology, smart phones, and retail commerce in a way that has never been done before. Despite recent mismanagement of holdings such as You Tube, Google continues to steam ahead as one of the most influential companies in the world. Google does not solely signify search engines these days, but also online commerce and technology.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Waters lives in Los Angeles and writes about financial news and technology trends. Many of her blog posts and articles can be found on