After an embarrassing snafu that left Google Wallet prepaid card users in a potentially worrisome situation, the search giant has reportedly given customers an extra $5 to bring them back.
According to The Verge, Google Prepaid Card customers recently had all their funds restored and received an additional $5 for all their trouble. The Verge says Google sent e-mails to Wallet customers updating them on the move, but the company has not publicly said that it has, in fact, given customers $5 for its mobile-payment service's recent issues.
Researchers last month discovered a way to hack Google Wallet and potentially steal a user's financial information. The method, while somewhat complicated, allowed hackers to crack the personal identification number used to secure the service. A much simpler workaround was later revealed, forcing Google to disable its prepaid card.
"To address an issue that could have allowed unauthorized use of an existing prepaid card balance if someone recovered a lost phone without a screen lock, tonight we temporarily disabled provisioning of prepaid cards," Osama Bedier, vice president for Google Wallet and Payments, said last month. "We took this step as a precaution until we issue a permanent fix soon."
Soon after the prepaid cards were disabled, Google announced a fix.
Security issues in the fledgling mobile-payment industry could be disastrous for any company. So far, few smartphone owners have jumped at the chance to make purchases with their devices rather than with plastic. Meanwhile, a host of companies, including major mobile carriers, are vying for control.
That said, Michael Abbott, who runs Isis, a joint mobile-payment venture among AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA, doesn't believe Wallet's struggles will be enough for the service to end up in the trash. At this point, Abbott told CNET recently, some issues should be expected.
"There will be hiccups with any new service," Abbott said. "Time and experience will heal everything."
Google did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on The Verge report.