Imagine going to a store or a restaurant and you forgot your wallet or purse. No credit cards. No cash. No problem! Whip out your cell phone, enter your pin, tap, and paid. “What,” you say?!?
Google introduces Google Wallet
Google is revolutionizing the way that we pay for things. Google has introduced a new application available on your phone that turns your phone into your digital wallet and gives you an alternate form of payment. This will allow shoppers to pay for groceries or a new outfit at the mall with their mobile device.
The service provided is near-field communications (NFC) which is a wireless communication system operating on a short-range basis allowing for payment in retail operations via a special chip in association with a special reader. The device provided in retail locations only operates on a very short range with your smart phone in an effort to avoid hackers.
Google has also provided pin numbers to achieve maximum security efforts. Another attempt at security is the NFC chip in the phone will self-destruct if a hacker is attempting to steal your information while your phone is in dark mode. In the event that your information is stolen, it will be treated the same as a credit card and you will not be liable for fraudulent purchases.
To pay you either need a Citibank credit card, which you enter its information into your phone, or the Google Prepaid Card, which you can fund with any credit card (right now the first $10 on the Google Prepaid Card is on them). The Google Prepaid Card is a virtual card meaning it’s an online account so you won’t receive a physical card.
Google Wallet can also store gift card information from participating merchants to be used when you shop. Instead of carrying around those gifts cards you got as gifts, you can store them on your Google Wallet account so you never forget them.
Do you have a wallet, or keychain, full of store loyalty cards? Google Wallet will be able to store those as well (at participating merchants). Instead of fishing for your card, or forgetting it because your keys are in the car where your wife is waiting while you run into the store, you can use your phone to make sure you get the loyalty rewards and discounts for your purchases.
Google will also be using this as a way to expand their Google Offers program. Google Offers will basically another version of Groupon (Groupon may be wishing they sold to Google if Google Offers really takes off). Google Wallet will store your offers and you will be able to redeem them at participating merchants with a tap of your phone (or a scan of the barcode on your phone screen).
Currently, Google is using this new application on a trial basis in San Francisco and New York City. The technology will expand over the summer. Also, there is a catch with phone service. The only phone able to support this technology at the time is the Spring Nexus S 4G cellular phone. The application on the Nexus S 4G phone is free. Google is promising to offer support for other carriers soon.
Google has gained support from retail provides such as Subway, MasterCard, Macy’s, and Citibank. It hopes to gain momentum in obtaining more of the large retail providers in the near future. Google is not currently requiring any fees from these companies for the use of this service but rather hopes to generate revenues from the sales of new phones and from the traffic generated to its websites.
Possibilities of the future
Google is expressing the new design of an open commerce ecosystem. This system is moving technology into the future. This application was designated with that in hopes in future that you will be able to store all sorts of information on your mobile device such as credit cards, rewards cards, receipts, passports and boarding passes. The NFC system is attempting to be a more open system with the intention of not sacrificing security.
There are some hurdles for Google to make this work. Since Sprint is the only provider of this digital wallet at the moment, it is possible that AT&T and Verizon will come up with their own similar systems. Cellular companies have been developing this technology for some time and it is only a matter of time before other providers supply similar applications.
I like where this is going. Though it seems scary to have so much information and power in your cell phone, I think it makes sense. It’s really only a matter of time before all of our pertinent information will be accessible via “the cloud.” Google is just the first company to roll this out. I’m sure we’ll be seeing other versions of a digital wallet appear shortly.
What do you think of Google Wallet and paying for things with your phone?
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