Google Wallet

Google today officially announced Google Wallet and Google offers: The search giant's foray into mobile payments. Teaming up with MasterCard, Sprint and Citi -- and using MasterCard's PayPass system -- Google Wallet is being put into beta mode starting in San Francisco and is scheduled for full launch later this summer.

The concept is pretty much how it sounds -- turning your NFC-enabled smartphone into your wallet. Credit cards use several layers of encryption, and you'll basically tap to pay using MasterCard's PayPass system.

Google debuted its Wallet services on the Sprint Nexus S 4G (the Nexus S is still the only smartphone in the United States with NFC). Launch the app, and it asks to connect to your account. Then you'll have to enter a PIN. You'll then enter your card information, again, a Citi MasterCard, for now. Note that this is different than merely storing your credit card information on the phone -- it's provisioned through a third party.

Don't have a Citi MasterCard? And don't want one? Google's also including a prepaid card that will let you add funds from other credit cards. But that's not to say you won't be adding other companies' cards in the future -- Google Wallet is an open platform.

More on security: If the phone's screen is turned off, NFC is turned off. And NFC also is inactive until the Google Wallet App is launched. It's got a tamper sensor as well, and will withstand laser attacks. Really. Google said so.

Google also announced Google offers -- deals done through Google, naturally.

Source: Google

Google Wallet VerificationGoogle Wallet security


Reader comments

Google Wallet a reality: Brings real purchasing power to your phone


So instead of taking my wallet out, pulling my card out and swiping it I have to pull my phone out, unlock it, launch an app, enter a code then touch my phone to the terminal. I fail to see how this is better than simply using my credit card in my wallet that I have to carry around for my ID, Insurance...etc. This also adds one more place for me to have to enter my credit information into a company's system(google) who's main purpose is to target me with ads.

Its the beginning. If everything is replaced by nfc. Aka insurance. Lets not say id so one thing you would carry. You would no essentially just carry your phone. Lots new its not perfect yet. Everyone needs to except it.

The only advantage I see is that this prevents someone from copying your card in the back room when you're paying at a restaurant. Until all devices come with NFC+, this is an inconvenience...

Which is kind of a moot point because NFC payment is never an option at restaurants. I have literally never seen a contactless payment device anywhere but gas pumps and convenience stores.

You will. Just wait.

Probably see portable units delivered to your table by your waitress within five or six years. Checkout cash register units within 18 months to larger chains is my prediction.

In London, they bring a portable terminal to the table and complete the transactions in seconds. This could be replaced with an NFC puck quite nicely. I, for one, look toward to it.

You forgot the part where the receipt needs to be printed and that you have to sign.

With NFC, I'm sure there is no need to unlock the phone. I bet touching the terminal launches the app automatically. And why would you need to unlock the phone anyway? The app could be launched even if the phone is locked. Since you still have to enter a passcode for the transaction, your phone is still safe.

Signatures on digital pads have been around for a long long time.
Where do you shop that you haven't noticed these?

Also, there is a need to unlock the phone in Google's planned implementation. Once the phone IS your money, you can bet it will become mandatory to pin or pattern lock your phone.

I'm confused. If it works with existing systems how does it only work in SF right now?

What if you go through the drive through? Do you hand them your cellphone and watch the look on their faces. ?

No I'm kidding. I can't wait for this to take off

If this tech takes off (which is by no means certain), there would presumably be a PayPass terminal accessible from your car. Not so great when it's raining. Frankly, I think using NFC for payments is idiotic. What if your battery dies? You are up a creek. You have to carry a card as backup. Period.

Can you sign your name to the above post so we can come back to you after 5 years when your "idiotic" judgement will sound like Bill Gate's "640k is enough for anyone" comment?

Come on, seriously? This is the exact same objections that were raised when credit cards took over the world.

I get that change is threatening to some people. But in the future your cell phone will be your keys, for your car, your house and your money. Pronouncing it "idiotic" just because you think you have come up with a show stopper scenario while the concept is in its infancy is just not reasonable.

You DO realize they have been using NFC payments in Japan for several years now, don't you? Korea is way ahead of us in this. They started using SMS systems, and have long since switched to NFC-like technology.

I'm sorry my comment got you so bent out of shape. What I was thinking when I wrote my post was how foolish it would be to carry only your phone. As long as everyone still carries their important cards and keys then NFC in the phone is certainly a potential convenience. I'm definitely not "threatened" by this technology (I'm a computer programmer, for crying out loud).

I have a Jack in the Box drive through about 2 mins from my house that has the nfc pay pass thing on their drive through... its just mounted on the outside of the window they hand food through

Think of it this way. eventually you will link all of your credit and debit card forms of payment onto your phone. If you loose your real wallet, you'll have lost your id, punch cards to your favorite car wash, and pictures of your kids... Which would suck, but at least you don't have to worry about canceling credit cards and tracking potential fraudulent activity. Yup it's in the birthing stages now, but eventually this will be a very cool lifestyle change.

Someone who gets it!

Don't forget starting your car and unlocking your house. Checking into a hotel, and they send your phone a credential to unlock your room, pay at their restaurant, or pool side.

Ball game or concert tickets sent to your phone, along with all your loyalty discount cards.

This technology probably belongs in your wrist watch, but you have to start somewhere, and the phone has the processing power to handle this today.

Even if you don't use this as a daily method of paying, one of the great things will be the Offers. If you are currently a holder of a MasterCard, they do throw out some killer deals especially around Christmas.

People love it now, but just wait until the first security breach, then all the same people will be writing articles about how insecure the system is.

They claim the NFC chip won't be activated in the application until you "unlock" the wallet app, according to the CNET live blog. /shrug

It will require that your screen is turned on (and unlocked), that the app is open, and that you enter an in-app pin. Plus all the info will be encrypted. Sounds safer than a thin plastic card.

Guess there will always be critics that are too scared to try something and would rather make problems instead of solutions.

That also depends on if Google will be responsible for the customer service or if it will fall on the banks to govern.

This seems like just another form of technology thinking it's advancing but in actuality the old way of doing things is better. A thin credit card is actually a much easier way to pay than going to an app on a phone. With everyone getting hacked these days I can't say Google wouldn't be a major target once they have 50 million accounts in their database. Oh wait, at least companies that get hacked offer a full year of identity monitoring as a gift for letting Joe Hacker obtain your personal info. My other example is plain VoiP calls as a land line in the home. You can't tell me that copper in the home didn't provide a better service for plain old telephone service (POTS).

For me, digging out the card is less convenient. My phone is already in my hands. A lot of people are like me in that and car keys in one hand, java in the other. Digging out a wallet means pocketing the phone and car keys or finding a place to set the java down.

NFC doesn't have to replace credit cards entirely, and probably won't for a really long time (if ever) because there will always be a lot if people who don't even have or want a smartphone or trust the system, but it's an option.

Heck there are still people who don't trust plastic so they use checks and others who don't trust anything except cash. Cash and checks didn't disappear with the advent of credit cards.

Nothing will ever replace cold hard cash. Period.

Batteries die. Power outages. Security breaches. The list goes on. Tech is convenient at times, but you're right that it is just another option and not the only way.

For the vast majority of people, credit cards have already replaced cold hard cash.

So give it ten years, and you will be eating those words.

Credit Cards have been around more than 100 years, still cash is a necessity in our society. Technology fails, cash doesn't.

That's exactly what I say when I stuff cash in my mattress each night before I go to bed.

Better question would be how are people in Japan using this?
We're pretty far behind them with NFC. Whatever works for them would probably work for us...

They generally use it daily at konbini (convenience stores located practically everywhere, sometimes 4 together, one on each corner of an intersection) to pay their water & electricity bills, phone bills, etc, as well as anything they're buying at the store they're in.

Though not as useful, they're also now using it to follow each other on twitter by simply tapping their phones, according to this:

Geez this is so typical lately...Google uses MasterCard first??

Can't use Visa or Discover or American Express?? Who the hell even uses MasrterCard anymore? :D

Its a great concept & all
In a perfect world this will be perfect , but there is allot of variables here :

- What if the Phone got stolen ? & didn't have a Password on it , especially if the Google Wallet can work without unlocking the phone

- What if its was raining & you don't have a "Defy with NFC" on a drive-thru ?

- What if the battery died & you don't have a spare battery ?

- What if your phone got hacked into ? as we all know Android OS is not the most secure OS out there

Im not against NFC & Advanced tech. , but this needs more work

Overall a good concept , i personally find it more useful for smartphone makers to sell more then actually help the user make payments easyer . Any idea on where the app stores the PIN , couse they say u dont need network coverage for the app to work.

Ive always got my phone in my hand. Associates are always waiting on me to pull out money while I finish whatever on my phone...itd be nicer to just wave my phone in front of a machine.

Sounds to me like your one the rude people with a line behind them finishing whatever on there phone with no consideration for anyone else. Wake up people! I love my samsung phone and love new technology. But CASH will always be KING! I would never let any company make me dependent on their sevices!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All this "NFC" stuff...guessin I'm showing my age but I've never heard of NFC in any context other than a conference in the NFL..what the heck is it? Can't believe what this world is headed to..