Google Launches Google Wallet NFC Smartphone Payments

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Google officially launched its Google Wallet service on Tuesday that turns NFC-enabled smartphones into virtual credit cards. The feature is currently limited to the Nexus S 4G phone on Sprint’s network and Citi MasterCard customers, but should be coming to more phones and credit cards soon.

Google WalletGoogle Wallet brings NFC transactions to Android

Google Wallet requires smartphones that include NFC, or Near Field Communication, chips so the phones can be held near compatible readers to process transactions. Google is also offering its own Google Prepaid virtual card for customers that don’t have a Citi MasterCard.

Nexus S 4G owners will get an over the air update to their phone that adds Google Wallet support.

“We appreciate Citi and MasterCard for being our launch partners,” said Google Vice President of Payments, Osama Bedier. “And today, Visa, Discover and American Express have made available their NFC specifications that could enable their cards to be added to future versions of Google Wallet.”

Since Google Wallet is limited to the Android-based Nexus S 4G and Citi MasterCard, and just to compatible NFC readers, it can’t be used very many places — at least not yet. As the number of supported smartphones and credit services grows, NFC payments in the U.S. may grow, and even find their way to the iPhone.

Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Google is copying Apple so quickly these days, Apple doesn’t even have time to innovate!

BurmaYank

Touch? - 1 for Brad!

Lee Dronick

Yes that was a good one Bosco.

RonMacGuy

I guess copying on everything else actually gave google time to innovate on something. Good for them!! I still wouldn’t give them my credit card information, with all the malware on android, but hey good luck to anyone who will.

grin

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Thanks guys. But seriously. NFC payments are already popular in Japan and South Korea, albeit without fancy smart phone apps. Google hasn’t done anything that qualifies as rocket science to make this work. What Google is doing is building the market coalitions necessary to make widespread adoption possible.

Compare the willingness of some pretty huge financial companies and brands to join up with Google on Wallet to the brick wall Steve Jobs ran into from many quarters when he tried to “revolutionize” the newspaper and magazine industries.

Another difference between Google and Apple… Google will package this for and/or license it to Apple. You could be almost sure that Apple would be reluctant to do the same had Apple built the coalitions, assuming that Apple could lock partners into its proprietary platform.

RonMacGuy

You could be almost sure that Apple would be reluctant to do the same had Apple built the coalitions, assuming that Apple could lock partners into its proprietary platform.

Actually, I do believe you are right there!!

RonMacGuy

Another difference between Google and Apple? Google will package this for and/or license it to Apple. You could be almost sure that Apple would be reluctant to do the same had Apple built the coalitions, assuming that Apple could lock partners into its proprietary platform.

Was giving this some thought. Google will package/license this because they have to, not because they want to. That would be the only way they could make money on this. Apple, on the other hand, would not have to package/license this, given their business model. They would include it as a feature for iOS and motivate banks and credit card companies to support the technology by offering hundreds of millions of iOS users as customers.

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