Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Saying Goodbye to PayPal, Hello Google Wallet

Almost exactly two years ago I wrote an editorial on how much I hated using PayPal. For years, they were a necessary evil in doing any kind of online commerce. I coach via online video chat, it was just easier to invoice using PayPal, rather than expecting clients to drop checks in the mail in a timely fashion. After a series of frustrating encounters however, I felt it was time to move on.

It's been a struggle. PayPal had the mind share, and while I was successful in moving some clients over to services like Dwolla, or swiping credit cards on Square, neither ever completely upset the PayPal lock-in. Until a couple months ago, still nearly half of my digital transactions were PayPal.

And then Google Wallet got hip.

Wallet was initially built as a tap and pay service for Android phones using NFC. Of course the carriers were working on their own tap and pay protocol named ISIS, so Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have largely refused to support Google's solution. To combat that, Google has recently started pushing Wallet into more of a mainstream online transaction tool.

The killer app for me here has been GMail integration. You can send money using GMail to other GMail recipients with no fees via bank transfer and 2.9% via credit card. You have to set up payment and bank info just like you do on PayPal and Dwolla, and that can take a couple days to verify, but once set up it's easier, faster, and cheaper to do business. Manage all your online transactions and your wallet balance from any Android phone or web browser.

Now to circumvent the phone carriers, Google has delivered a Wallet Card allowing you to spend the funds in your account wherever MasterCard is accepted. That has completely pushed me over the edge. I don't have to sacrifice any of the services I had with PayPal, and I get my invoicing done faster and cheaper.

The last quarter of 2013, I haven't processed a single payment through PayPal. This is a first for me. I'm going to see if I can continue that streak through 2014.

For more info on Google Wallet: http://www.google.com/wallet/


  1. Juan,

    I've read this article about 3 times. I had to look up NFC, and tap-and-pay. (I hate acronyms). I understand both, I just didn't know that's what they were called. Thanks for writing this...good to know.

    I, too have been waiting for Google Wallet to "grow up". In my mind, it STILL hasn't replaced PayPal. I don't need another MasterCard. I need a way to take the money sent to me by clients, and transfer it to my bank acccount.

    I don't see that Google Wallet does this. Am I missing something?

    Right now, the only thing registering on my Google Wallet account are the apps I buy for my Android Tablet.

    Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

    Dave Courvoisier

    1. It's the other main part of the service.once a bank account is attached you can deposit funds with zero fees right now. Don't know if it will always stay that way, but I'm sure the bank deposit feature isn't going away any time soon.