Today at Google‘s press conference, Google teamed with Sprint and several other payment providers, introduced the latest and best, according to them, thing in mobile payments. It’s called Google Wallet.
Slated for a Summer release, Google Wallet works with Near Field Communications technology(NFC for short which is a wireless technology that allows communications between sensors brought within close proximity to each other) to make payments using your smartphone. This works by opening up the Google Wallet app on your device, selecting which credit/debit card you want to use, and gently tap your phone to the point of sale device.
Citi, Mastercard and First Data are enabling payment for Google Wallet, which will first be available in New York and San Francisco this Summer. Once the the Wallet ecosystem is well in place, Google and its partners will step up marketing programs to lure in customers. Google Wallet will initially support only Citi Mastercard and a Google Prepaid card and so far only works on two devices. Sprint’s Nexus S 4G and T-Mobile’s Samsung Nexus S. Google Wallet also works with Google Offers, which is Google’s own version of Groupon. Google Wallet will sync with a user’s Offers, allowing users to redeem those offers via NFC at participating Single Tap merchants like American Eagle, Macy’s and Subway.
Google plans on working with other partners and envisions boarding passes, tickets, IDs, and keys being stored in the Google Wallet. While not big in the United States, NFC payments are commonplace in countries like Japan. Google and its partners are hoping to change that, looking to cash in on the expected 50% of NFC enabled mobile devices that are expected to launch by 2014. Google is also hoping that overtime, developers will write apps that take advantage of NFC. Google will then pair ads and local deals and discounts with these services.