Google Wallet Mobile Payments Coming Very Soon: What It Means for You
Google is expected to make its NFC-based Google Wallet mobile payments service available today, and it is sure to change the way consumers pay for goods and services in the future. Unfortunately, only one specific smartphone will be supported at launch: the Google Nexus S from Samsung.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
In late May, Google, MasterCard, Citi and a handful of U.S. retailers announced the upcoming “Google Wallet” mobile payments service, which will allow consumer to use select Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled, Android smartphones to pay for goods and services. And it looks like Google Wallet may officially launch today–though only one smartphone, the Google Nexus S, will reportedly support the service at first.
“Google Wallet is launching September 19, 2011. Google Wallet is a smartphone application (app) that allows owners of the Sprint Nexus S Android phone to use their smartphone as a wallet. This application or app will transform the way clients pay. Once Google Wallet is installed, the Spring Nexus S phone may be used as a contactless (Tap and Pay) device at all PayPass enabled merchant terminals.”
Google Wallet payment terminals have already been spotted at certain retailers, as well, including a Peet’s Coffee shop in San Francisco, which further suggests the service should launch in the very near future. (See image below.)
Google Wallet uses PayPass, a “contactless” payment service from MasterCard that lets its customers “tap” enabled credit cards, keyfobs and now, mobile phones, to compatible readers at payment terminals to pay for services. Google Wallet, which employs NFC and PayPass, will only work with PayPass-enabled Citi MasterCards and no other credit cards at launch, according to reports. And you’ll need a Google Nexus S smartphone running Android v2.3.4 (Gingerbread), to utilize Google Wallet.
Google Wallet and other similar mobile payment apps will surely shine a new light on mobile security in general, as well, since more and more users will be storing sensitive payment information on their devices, and thieves will have more incentive to hack or steal them.
But it may take a while for the average consumer to be able to use Google Wallet or other similar services, since NFC requires a specific hardware chip and most modern smartphones do not yet support the technology. Google Wallet is also expected to be available only to Android users, at first, so other smartphone owners may not get access to this specific mobile payment service.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.