With each passing day, using a credit card for online purchases is a more and more dangerous proposition. No matter how many anti-fraud devices or new advanced and safer ways credit card companies invent to protect customers, an average customer will still have his/her qualms about online shopping. Hence, as a result, the creation of many new “wallet” services that let you do your shopping without disclosing your credit card information online. Sound good? Well, Google has come up with yet another solution. A program called Google Checkout is the latest such service out on the market.
Google Checkout is a free service from Google. Like all other Google services, you only need a Google account (like Gmail) to be able to use it. If you don’t have a Google account already, you can sign up for a new one at checkout.google.com.
Google Checkout works in a very simple manner. First off, you have to sign up for a Google Checkout account. Then you can add your credit or debit card information to the account and you’re ready to go. Google doesn’t share your personal information or the full card number with anyone else. However, in some instances, it does share the last few digits of your card number just to identify the transaction. In fact, when you’re placing orders, you can also choose whether you want to keep your e-mail address confidential or if you want to receive e-mails from that particular seller.
You can use Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover with your Google Checkout account. Though you can have multiple checkout accounts, for security and fraud prevention, you can use only one credit card with a particular account. At this time, this service is only available if your billing address is U.S. based and similarly, you aren’t able to make any international shipments as of now.
The single biggest advantage of this service is not having to remember different usernames and passwords for all the different shopping sites you visit. You just buy from different online stores using a single Google login name, which simply means one click shopping. So, now you may be asking, “how do you know what stores accept Google Checkout”? The answer is very simple. When you search for a product on Google’s Web site and you see an advertisement in the Google search ad bar, the stores where Google Checkout works will have a little green shopping cart icon in their entry. So, just look for the little shopping cart to know whether it will work or not. Google Checkout can also be used on sites that display the Google Checkout logo or have a Google Checkout button on the shopping cart page.
For example, I was shopping for a new camera at Camera World and when I was ready to check out, it presented me with an option to checkout using Google Checkout. Nice and simple!
After you are done with your shopping, you can track down your orders and shipping information in the purchase history option provided by Google. No more going to different Web sites to track down all the purchases you made in the last six months. This makes it all so much easier. It’s especially useful for the folks who do a lot of their business shopping online and need to maintain track of it all.
Now, if you’re an online seller, Google Checkout holds out a goodie bag for you too. For letting merchants use this service on their Web sites, Google charges them two percent of the purchase price. As is obvious, Google is playing smart by keeping its transaction fee lower than most credit card companies. Now, here’s the interesting part. If you’re a customer paying for search related keyword ads through Google Ad Words, you will be able to process transactions that add up to 10 times the total dollar amount of your spending on Google Ad Words absolutely free of cost.
For example, as a teenager, you may have had a passion for creating clay pots and as a tech savvy adult, you now have decided to convert it into an online business. As you pay for ad words, your ad shows up on the Google sidebar every time someone searches for clay pots. After you sign up as a Google Checkout merchant, whenever someone searches for the keywords that you are paying for on Google, a little green cart will appear next to your ad in the Google sidebar. This denotes that Google Checkout users can buy your products in one click from the link in the sidebar. So, not only are users finding your product by using Google, but they are buying it using Google too!
By cutting and pasting HTML code, any Web site can add Google Checkout as their payment processing method. If you already own an e-commerce Web site, you can integrate Google Checkout as an option in already existing shopping cart systems.
As you are reading this, Google is in a quest to add more and more big labels to their roster, which is already graced by the presence of brands like Starbucks, buy.com, Levi’s, Dockers, Jockey, etc. More often than not, Google also offers various coupon codes that will help you get a little bit of a discount at some of the stores. It’s like getting a free cookie even after you’ve discovered your daily decaf only costs 10 cents. As the extra chocolate chip on your free cookie, if you are a Citi credit card holder, Google promises to reward you with either $5.00 or 1,000 thank you points.
The bottom line is that if you’re an online shopper who’s sick of filling out forms and trying to remember different logins for different sites or if you’re an online seller who’s sick of lost sales at the point of shopping cart checkouts, Google Checkout can be the easy remedy for you! Check it out!
Here’s the link to Google Checkout again, in case you missed it above.
~ Yogesh Bakshi