Good news, losing your wallet may become a thing of the past. In New York City this morning, Google announced “Google Wallet” its new electronic payment service. Partners include Citi, MasterCard and First Data. The service starts field testing today (New York City, San Francisco) with a launch planned for the summer. Google noted that consumer opinion on e-commerce is evolving with 70% of users now comfortable managing financial information on the internet.
According to Google, the idea is to “make your phone your wallet.”
Google Wallet uses something called NFC (Near Field Communication), a technology that is expected to be built in to 50% of smartphones by 2014. Currently, however, only Google’s Nexus S 4G (Sprint) and Nexus S (T-Mobile) are equipped with NFC chips.
The concept is to replace your physical credit cards with digital equivalents that can accessed via a smartphone. According to Google the data will be encrypted and highly secure.
From the Google Blog, “Because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will do more than a regular wallet ever could. You’ll be able to store your credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and gift cards, but without the bulk. When you tap to pay, your phone will also automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you. Someday, even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet.”
Retail partners include Macy’s, American Eagle Outfitters (who joined Google this morning on-stage with and demonstrated “single tap” during a point-of-sale demo) and Subway. Google Wallet is expected to work at 124,000 retailers equipped with MasterCard’s PayPass terminals.
Earlier this year Apple scrapped plans for a similar system.
When Google Wallet launches, it will support these cards:
the Google Prepaid Card
gift cards at participating merchants
Look for these symbols:
Google SingleTap merchants at launch:
American Eagle Outfitters
The Container Store
Einstein Bros. Bagels
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Toys ‘R Us
Tap and pay merchants:
The Coca-Cola Company
Jack in the Box
For more information, visit the new Google Wallet site that went live today.