Google Wallet goes public
Google has launched its mobile payments technology, Google Wallet, opening it to members of the public.
Google Wallet is vying to replace credit cards with phones containing a special chip that can be tapped against readers at cash tills in shops to make payments.
The technology has been on trial in New York and San Francisco since May with about 1,000 employees of Google and its partners in the venture, including MasterCard and Macy’s department store.
From today, anyone with a Sprint Nexus S phone, which runs on Google’s Android operating system, will be able to use their phones to make payments. Customers will have to sign up for a Citi MasterCard account or get a Google Prepaid Card.
Google Wallet will be marketed in the US only, although the pre-paid card will work internationally at launch. It can be used at any of the 300,000 shops and other outlets in the US and internationally that accept MasterCard PayPass.
Most cabs in New York have readers, as do Bloomingdales department store, McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Foot Locker, BP, and Tesco, Boots and Burger King in the UK.
In a post on its official blog, Google said it would be focusing its marketing and sales efforts on New York and San Francisco, where it would be working with shops to implement its “SingleTap” process. This lets customers redeem vouchers, loyalty card points and make payments with a single tap of the phone.
Google’s next Nexus phone, expected later this year, will also feature the chips needed to run the Wallet.
I see this proliferating rapidly across the world as most of the phone manufacturers are looking to ship with NFC chips already embedded into their phones. Players like Google will use this as an opportunity to standardize the mobile payment experience across the globe.