Google recently unveiled its latest offering, Google Wallet. It’s a mobile payment system in which the only thing you need is your Android smartphone and the Google Wallet app.
Once having installed the app, the need for you to carry credit cards or cash is null. All you have to do is tap your smartphone and your credit card information will be transmitted to the payment receiver.
The system boasts of various security features like Secure Element, which stores all your encrypted data and is much like a mini-computer. Others include real time anti-fraud detection and password entry at each encrypted transaction stage which will ensure that users don’t lose their wallets if they lose their phones.
Knowing the hesitant mindset of people when using such a technology, Google has also included a Google prepaid card with Google Wallet which can be used just like a normal debit card and can be loaded with a set amount of cash through any credit card or bank account.
On May 26, Google announced its partners in the Google Wallet project which are Citibank, MasterCard, mobile networks like Sprint and Samsung and retail locations like Subway, and Macy’s.
MasterCard are already testing the service out in New York City and San Francisco with Citibank and Sprint planning to launch the service by the summer.
For the system to work, one would have to own a NFC chip enabled phone, like the Nexus S. It’s not limited to that though. You can obtain a special NFC sticker, which will allow you to take advantage of the service, though Google did imply that functionality will be limited for those using the NFC sticker.
One might think that this service will really cater to those with NFC chips in their phones but adding NFC capabilities to your phone is as simple as plugging in a new memory card. Tyfone, a mobile financial solution provider, along with others is providing NFC capabilities in memory cards.
All the NFC capabilities are built-in in the card, just plug it in your regular card slot and voila! You have a NFC enabled phone. Most memory card types are already supported and others are on the fast track to do so.
Google will also be looking to integrate Google Offers with this service. Google Offers is a coupon service much like Groupon, but integration with Wallet will see it use digital coupons. Daily offers will be received on your phone each day and one has to only save the digital coupons to their Wallet and they can be used at the respective outlets.
However, Google isn’t the first one to dabble into NFC technology. Visa has already got a system in place that is in use at over 300,000 locations worldwide. Visa plans to launch its version of the Wallet in the fall in the US and Canada. Only time will tell which competitor comes out on top.
Here’s a demo of the Google Wallet in action: