Update 7/27/15: Google Checkout has been retired and is no longer be available as of November 20th, 2013. See our list of Google Checkout Alternatives for other options.
Google Checkout (checkout.google.com) is an electronic payment service offered by Google.com that allows merchants to accept credit card payments through their website and at their retail location via consumers who use the Google Wallet app. The service is primarily marketed to consumers as a way to securely checkout of online stores by storing their credit card information in their Google Wallet account. Not only does Google claim that it’s a safer checkout option for consumers, but that it also speeds up the checkout process and stores the purchase information in one place so that consumers can easily review past purchases.
Google Checkout’s service is similar to PayPal’s “Payments Advanced” and “Payments Pro” accounts which allow merchants to either collect payments from a hosted checkout on Google’s servers, or through their own hosted shopping cart with either an HTML or XML-based API. Most merchants will likely need to work with an experienced web developer for the API option, but the other options can be implemented by just about anyone with basic knowledge of HTML.
Although merchants cannot type credit card numbers it into their Google Checkout merchant accounts to process sales, they can use Google Checkout’s invoice emailing feature to request payment from customers who then can fill in their own payment information. Essentially, if a buyer places an order via phone or fax, a merchant can generate invoices through his/her Google Checkout Merchant Center and email it to the buyer. The buyer is sent a link along with the invoice that allows him/her to confirm payment and shipping information. Unlike PayPal, Google Checkout does not offer a virtual terminal for processing face-to-face transactions but does have an app for Android devices that allow Google Checkout sellers to accept payments for in-store sales.