This is huge. Leave the wallet at home. This summer you will be able to make purchases at the point of sale using nothing but your smart phone.
Google, first on the scene with this new technology, just announced Google Wallet, a free smart phone app that will allow you to pay at the register or gas pump with your phone.
The goal of Google Wallet is to eventually replace your wallet in every facet: coupons, loyalty cards, gift cards, and all of your credit cards. I suspect the only thing you’ll be carrying around is your driver’s license.
How Google Wallet Works
Google Wallet is using something called NFC (Near Field Communication), which requires a special chip in the phone (which explains why only Google’s Nexus S 4G can use this app initially). You’ve seen the NFC receivers before at the register.
Many credit card companies have been using this payment technology with a little, wave-able token device thing-y connected to your credit card. You’ve seen it on a few key chains. This uses the same technology, but puts the device in your phone.
At launch, Google Wallet will have the capability to be connected to your Citi MasterCard. Right now Citi and MasterCard are the only two companies from the credit card world on-board. But you can bet that Visa, American Express, Discover, and Chase will all be jumping in once this takes off. Google has acknowledged that they are going to work with as many companies as possible.
I’m an iPhone user, so the first thing I want to know is when can I get this for my iPhone. Well, this technology requires a NFC chip, which the iPhone currently does not have. Maybe in the iPhone 5? Google has also mentioned in their FAQ section that they are open to using Google Wallet across all phone and providers.
Be the First to Use Google Wallet
Google Wallet launches this summer. Here are the steps to use Google Wallet with your Nexus S 4G:
- Download the free Google Wallet App
- Add your credit card details
- Assign a security PIN for purchases
- Visit a participating location (many in my area)
- Simply tap your phone to the receiver to pay
Eventually Google will begin integrating their Wallet app with Google Offers (a Groupon-like service) so that you receive coupons and incentives at the merchants where you are using your phone to pay. I’m not big on this integration, but I know that’s why Google is pushing this technology forward, and why the merchants will be jumping on-board. If this helps push the technology forward faster, then I can deal with it.
Cards that Work with Google Wallet
- Citi® Platinum Select® MasterCard®
- Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® MasterCard® – Limited Time Offer
- Citi ThankYou(SM) Preferred Card
- Citi ThankYou(SM) Premier Card
- Citi® Gold/AAdvantage® World MasterCard®
My Thoughts on Google Wallet
Overall, I’m excited at this announcement. Google, MasterCard, and Sprint are kicking off something that’s going to be our future. I like that Google isn’t trying to limit which credit cards and mobile providers can participate. I’ll be excited to use this technology with my next phone.
What about you? What do you think of Google Wallet and the future of paying for things with your smart phone?