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June 07, 2011

Google Wallet Makes It Easier to Pay for Goods through Near Field Communications

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

The recently-introduced Google (News - Alert) Wallet may be the start of a new trend in how consumers pay for goods. It uses near field communication technology to allow a consumer’s smartphone to communicate with the retail store’s technology, explains a Yahoo News blog post.

For starters, Samsung's (News - Alert) Nexus S 4G will launch the app, and it will later be used with other Android phones.

Well-known brands already involved are: American Eagle Outfitters, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, The Container Store, Duane Reade, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy’s, Noah's Bagels, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, RadioShack, Subway, Toys “R” Us and Walgreens.

Google Wallet is accepted at over 124,000 PayPass-enabled merchants in the United States and more than 311,000 worldwide.

Users of Google Wallet need a Citi MasterCard account or need to load a Google prepaid card to make purchases using the device.

In addition, TMCnet explains the service will allow consumers to turn their Android mobile phone into a “wallet” that has “payment credentials” and provides loyalty cards, coupons and other personal data.

A key question about these new devices is whether the phones can communicate confidential financial data securely. Google thinks so. Current security includes: “multi-layer data encryption between Google Wallet and MasterCard PayPass, required PIN entry at each purchase, and the separate lock screen available on Android Phones,” according to Yahoo News.

Google uses this approach rather than the approach used by Isis, a venture launched by AT&T, Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless and T-Mobile USA, which started by raising revenue through transaction fees, TMCnet said.

“We’ve joined with leaders in the industry to build the next generation of mobile commerce,” Stephanie Tilenius, vice president of commerce and payments at Google, said in a statement released with the recent introduction of Google Wallet. “With Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint (News - Alert) we’re building an open commerce ecosystem that for the first time will make it possible for you to pay with an NFC wallet and redeem consumer promotions all in one tap, while shopping offline.”

Google Wallet is being field tested now, and will be offered to consumers during the summer.

“Citi’s role as the lead bank in Google Wallet is the latest demonstration of how we are committed to becoming the world’s digital bank, providing to customers the tools they need to manage their everyday finances with convenience and value,” Paul Galant, CEO of Citi Global Enterprise Payments, said in the Google company statement.

The first Google Wallet field tests are located in New York and San Francisco.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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