Once again, Google is changing the way people do business. Google recently announced its newest innovation called Google Wallet. It’s a way for shoppers to use their cell phones as a method of payment. Instead of using an actual credit card or cash at the register, Google Wallet users will be able to swipe or tap their cell phone on a sensor near the register. Using NFC (near field communication) technology, your phone will securely complete the transaction and even store an electronic receipt for you.
Google Wallet allows you to store your credit cards, store rewards, coupons and gift cards in your phone, eliminating the need to keep loyalty cards and receipts in a physical wallet. The idea is to eventually turn your phone into a device that can store everything your old wallet can hold. Eventually, Google Wallet will be a storage device for your boarding passes, IDs, theater tickets, and even your keys.
Can any phone use Google Wallet?
Currently, the only phone that supports Google Wallet is the Nexus S 4G by Sprint. We can expect to see other smart phones using the Google Wallet app as they start to include the NFC technology in new models. Sorry iPhone users, no Google Wallet yet – but keep your head up because the iPhone 5 is said to have an NFC chip built in.
How to fund Google Wallet
Eventually, Google Wallet hopes to support all major credit cards, but will limit its options to three in the beginning: Citi MasterCard, Google Prepaid Card, and participating store gift cards.
If you have a Citi MasterCard, you can register to use your card in the Wallet and utilize the ‘pay-pass’ system to pay for items. Your card information is stored securely in a special microchip and is verified by Citi before you can start using it.
Google Prepaid Card
Google created a brand new type of payment in the form of a virtual card. You can fund the Google Prepaid card with almost any payment card. For those who open a Google Prepaid Card, you will get $10 from Google just for starting. There won’t be any fees for Google Prepaid Card in 2011, but this is likely to change for 2012.
Store Gift Cards
At participating stores, you can pay for items with a gift card stored in Google Wallet. Your remaining balance will be easily accessible and readily available for your next purchase.
Using Google Offers and Google Wallet
Google Offers is another innovation by Google that will work directly with Google Wallet. You’ll be able to use discounts and deals on your favorite products and services at both local and online stores. The deals will be delivered via email and you’ll have the ability to buy and save the offers directly to the Wallet. Once you’re ready to shop, just show the cashier your phone and they’ll apply the discount or deal to your purchase.
Is Google Wallet safe?
Before you can use Google Wallet, you must first set up a pin number, which will be required before completing any transaction. This will ensure that no one will be making purchases if your phone is lost or stolen.
The actual chip holding your credit card information is another security feature in itself. A new chip called a Security Element runs independently of your phone’s operating system and acts like its own computer. Your payment information is held inside this Security Element, which can only be accessed when you enter your personalized pin.
When asked about the security of the Wallet, Google Wallet Co-Chief engineer Rob von Barron claimed that it would be safer than an conventional wallet because of multiple security locks and passcodes.
Where can you use Google Wallet?
Since Google Wallet uses the MasterCard pay-pass system, you can use it at over 120,000 merchants. Other large stores to get on board with Google’s payment system include Walgreens, CVS, Subway, American Eagle, Bloomingdales, and Macy’s.
Once Google Wallet allows you to add almost any card to your phone, I anticipate that you’ll see a large spike in the stores that accept payment with your new Wallet.
I’m most excited about the daily deals, electronic coupons, and store loyalty rewards stored on my phone.
Would you use your phone to pay for things if you could? Why or why not? Meet us in the comments!