Google Chrome will shake banks with its virtual bank card generator

On the occasion of its I/O 2022 conference, Google recently unveiled “Virtual Cards”, a service that creates a temporary card number to allow you to pay online without revealing your true identity. details. Only Google knows the real numbers.

Let’s be honest, we all feel a little scared when a site asks us for our bank information. While the services provide protection (PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.), there are many e-commerce platforms that require your payment card numbers to place an order. Because of the prevalence of deception and all that we hear everywhere, it is common to be intimidated. Will we be hacked by entering our contact details? Is the site real? How to resist if there is a problem? Lots of questions.

Some banks have addressed this problem through so-called “e-credit card” systems. Usually charged a little over 10 euros per year (or included in bank fees), it allows you to go to a site to create a unique bank card that is only valid for one specific amount. In case of hacking, the cybercriminal can do nothing, the card will not work. It so happened that this service encouraged Google to, at his I/O developer conferenceadvertisement Virtual Cardsits own e-credit card competitor.

Virtual Cards can change everything

In our view, Virtual Cards will not only compete with virtual bank cards. Why? Simply because it is integrated with Google Chrome, the most used browser on the planet, and is therefore virtually transparent for users.

Let’s take the example of Caisse d’Epargne’s service that forces its customer to identify himself on a special site and fill out a form to generate an incorrect provisional card. This is not practical, especially since you have to copy and paste the coordinates manually. Google will make it simple, automatic and free to create a fake card. Nothing to do but click a button.

Concretely, if a site asks you for your bank details, the “Use a virtual card” option will appear on the screen. Google, which must first register your real bank card, will display an animation showing the change in numbers. False coordination will be sent to the merchant site, but Google will pay you the right amount. Finally, Google is your only bank contact. Some can no longer trace you.

Virtual Cards displays an animation when it changes your bank details. // Source: Google

Unfortunately, Virtual Cards have one major flaw: they were only launched in the US at first (like many banking services, the Apple Card can attest). Since all American Visa, American Express and Capital One cards are compatible (Mastercards will arrive by the end of 2022), one can imagine that Google could easily adapt its service to Europe. Meanwhile, it leaves banks a few months to fix their system, why not browser extensions?

A secret tax method with Google Pay?

What surprised us with Virtual Cards was that the service directly overshadows Google Pay, Google’s mobile payment solution, available on all Android smartphones with an NFC chip. Since the service works on all cards, why bother setting up Google Pay when Virtual Cards can be used anywhere?

We asked Google about the topic which told us they wanted to leave the user option. If his card is already registered for the first time (even if it is not compatible with Google Pay), then it will work with Virtual Cards on all sites. What will Google Pay be used for if Virtual Cards are launched anywhere? Maybe there’s no contact payment outside, but that’s about it. Google took the risk of parasitizing its payment solution but, let’s be honest, it’s never been like the success of Apple Pay or PayPal.

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