Earlier this week, Google announced yet another service: Google Wallet. Google Wallet is a very handy service that allows you to pay using your Android phone instead of using your credit card or cash.
But Google Wallet is more than a payment system. Google Wallet also stores your loyalty cards, coupons and special offers so that everything happens in one transaction. They call this all-in-one feature SingleTap.
To use Google Wallet, just turn on your phone, tap it on the terminal and enter your pass code. Transaction complete. In one tap you have paid for your items, added points to your loyalty card and perhaps saved money with coupons and special offers. Handy dandy!
Where does the money come from when you use Google Wallet? You can either use your Citibank MasterCard or a Google Wallet pre-paid card that you can fund with your credit card.
Google Wallet is protected with a pass code and will not work when the phone is off. If you enter an incorrect pass code five times, Google Wallet will lock down.
Here is a video from Google explaining how the amazing features of Google Wallet work.
Google’s roll-out of this service is very limited for now. There is only one phone capable of using Google Wallet, the Nexus S Android phone. And you can only use Google Wallet if Sprint is your carrier. The locations are limited as well, you can search for locations near you at this site: Google Wallet Where It Works. So not many people are using Google Wallet yet, but the initial reviews have been very positive (see, Mashable’s Google Wallet: First Impressions).
The technology that Google is using for Google Wallet is NFC, or Near Field Communication. I first wrote about this in March (see, Upgrading Personal Tech: Is the Latest Really the Greatest?), when the idea of paying with a smartphone seemed like a distant vision.
The upcoming iPhone 5 (most recently rumored to be announced on October 4) may or may not be equipped for NFC payments. Most in the tech world are predicting that the iPhone 5 will not be NFC enabled, but we won’t know for sure until the announcement of the phone from Apple.
Does the idea of paying for items with a smartphone appeal to you? Do you like the SingleTap convenience of having your payment, loyalty cards, special offers and coupons combined ? Would this convince you to get a smartphone with NFC capabilities? Vote in today’s poll and let us know!
Do you see NFC payments as being the wave of the future? Do you think credit cards will become obsolete? Let us know in the Comments section below!
In other Google news, Google+ is now open to the public (see, Google+: What’s The Buzz About? for more information on Google+). So if you have been waiting until you didn’t need an invitation to join Google+, now is the time!