Google today announced Google Wallet, an app that will let you pay for items and services with your mobile phone. The app is in beta testing now and should be available to consumers soon, says Google. You’ll tap your phone on a PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout, and it will use near-field communication (NFC), a short-range wireless technology, to transmit your payment—securely, Google stresses.
The company envisions much more for this technology. From the official Google blog:
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.
Although your phone must support NFC for you to use Google Wallet, the company estimated that 50 percent of smart phones will have the technology built in by 2014, reports Engadget’s live blog of the announcement. Meanwhile, for now the Nexus S from Sprint is the only compatible Android phone. At the outset, Google Wallet will work with the Citi MasterCard and with Google’s Prepaid Card.
Google also announced the beta launch of Google Offers, daily deals service. Deals will arrive at your Gmail inbox and will also integrate with Google Wallet.