Managing money online is the new normal-from banking to checking credit card balances to paying a friend back, a new generation of consumers shops, pays and receives a lot of cash via the Internet. The wise minds at Google have been working hard to get in the electronic payment game with their Google Wallet service, and the company is now positioned for a major jump forward. That's thanks to the newly announced plans to let Gmail users send and receive money as an email attachment.
For naturally wary users, questions about safety immediately come to mind. After all, identity thieves have been making great-and highly publicized-leaps forward in online scams and hacking. But it looks as though Google's new innovation is starting out on the right path, according to Brian McGinley, chief executive officer of IDT911 Consulting, a subsidiary of Identity Theft 911.
"The fact that there is no exchange of bank information with the funds transmitted and received makes it a reasonably sound transaction mechanism," McGinley says. "Plus, the user is protected against unauthorized transactions by Google as long as the transaction is identified and reported within 180 days. That's reasonable."
McGinley advises those eager to try out the new function to take one extra precaution, in addition to measures like maintaining strong passwords and closely monitoring accounts. "I would recommend users' bank accounts used to fund these transactions be kept at relatively small dollar balances and not be linked to other high-balance accounts. In the event of compromise, the account can simply be closed."