Google Wallet launches using NFC phones
A new Google partnership with Citibank will let Americans pay for goods and services with NFC-enabled phones
Google has confirmed the launch of its much-rumoured ‘Wallet’ product, allowing American users to "tap, pay, and save" on goods and services.
Using near-field communications (NFC) technology, the Wallet is “aimed at making it easier for you to pay for and save on the goods you want, while giving merchants more ways to offer coupons and loyalty programs to customers, as well as bridging the gap between online and offline commerce”, Google said in its blog.
The mobile app means a single phone can store a multitude of cards and be sent offers, as well as keep track of a user’s spending.
Initially, the Wallet will only support a Citi Mastercard and a Google prepaid card. It will work wherever the contactless Mastercard ‘PayPass’ is installed. Google also said that “Many merchants are working to integrate their offers and loyalty programs with Google Wallet”, citing Subway and Toys ‘R Us.
The first phone to work with Wallet will be the Nexus S 4G, but others will follow soon. “This is just the start of what has already been a great adventure towards the future of mobile shopping,” wrote Rob von Behren and Jonathan Wall, the Founding Engineers on Google Wallet.
Fred Huet, managing director of Greenwich Consulting, said that “Google’s announcement today of the ‘Google Wallet’ system represents another step forward in the mobile payments race. Operators such as O2 and Orange are already gearing up, and it is just a matter of time before people are paying for their morning coffee with their phone.”
He added that “2011 will be the year when key players start to throw their hat into the digital payment space and this could indeed be the start of ‘digital money.’ However even with the might of Google this remains to be seen.”
Google has made no comments on a European launch.