Yesterday, Google launched Google Wallet, to take advantage of the NFC chip in the Nexus S, and a whole bunch of new Android Devices. Currently, this venture is in collaboration with Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint (and I’m sure more companies will get on board soon).
What it does is really simple: you can add your Citi or Mastercard Credit card to your Wallet account, and once authenticated, just swipe your phone (assuming the merchant has an NFC reader) and have your purchases recorded electronically, without the need for your card. All your transactions are mainted on the Wallet account, which can be locked (you have multiple layers of security for that), and you can review everything, whenever you want, whereever you want. Currently, Wallet works with GCard, which is a pre-paid access card, and the initial trial runs will be held in San Francisco and New York. If your phone doesn’t have an NFC chip, Google says that they’ll soon have simple NFC stickers to take care of that.
Today in our New York City office, along with Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint, we gave a demo of Google Wallet, an app that will make your phone your wallet. You’ll be able to tap, pay and save using your phone and near field communication (NFC). We’re field testing Google Wallet now and plan to release it soon.
Google Wallet is a key part of our ongoing effort to improve shopping for both businesses and consumers. It’s 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.
Because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will do more than a regular wallet ever could. You’ll be able to store your credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and gift cards, but without the bulk. When you tap to pay, your phone will also automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you. Someday, even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet.
At first, Google Wallet will support both Citi MasterCard and a Google Prepaid Card, which you’ll be able to fund with almost any payment card. From the outset, you’ll be able to tap your phone to pay wherever MasterCard PayPass is accepted. Google Wallet will also sync your Google Offers, which you’ll be able to redeem via NFC at participating SingleTap™ merchants, or by showing the barcode as you check out. Many merchants are working to integrate their offers and loyalty programs with Google Wallet.
With Google Wallet, we’re building an open commerce ecosystem, and we’re planning to develop APIs that will enable integration with numerous partners. In the beginning, Google Wallet will be compatible with Nexus S 4G by Google, available on Sprint. Over time, we plan on expanding support to more phones.