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Tap-to-pay Google Wallet launched


September 19, 2011

Google Wallet, an app that allows users to pay for items simply by tapping their smartphone on an NFC reader in a store, officially launched today

Google Wallet, an app that allows users to pay for items simply by tapping their smartphone on an NFC reader in a store, officially launched today

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Smartphones are in the process of replacing cameras, phonebooks, land lines and maps ... and wallets are next. First announced in May but just launched today, the Google Wallet free app allows its users to store electronic versions of their credit cards on their smartphone, and pay for items simply by tapping their phone on a near field communication (NFC) reader at a store's front counter.

A number of retailers, along with one financial institution and one carrier are on board, and so far Google Wallet is compatible with the Citi Master Card along with Google Prepaid Cards, that can be "loaded" using any existing credit card. Currently it only works with Google's Nexus S 4G phone, on the Sprint network. Needless to say, the number of cards, devices and networks is expected to grow soon.

It can be put to use at merchants that display a MasterCard PayPass symbol at their till. Users simply enter their PIN on their phone, tap the device on the merchant's NFC reader, and the payment is electronically made. At some retailers, electronic coupons and loyalty points will also be passed along. Participating businesses can be found using the MasterCard PayPass Locator for Android app.

Special Google Offers will also be made available to users, and will automatically sync with their Wallet.

Down the road, Google would also like to see the Wallet containing things such as gift cards, tickets, boarding passes, and even electronic house keys. Google Wallet can be downloaded now, free of charge.

Other companies that have experimented with similar payment technology have included Orange, SIMlink, SAGEM, and Visa.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

How about tapping two phones together to pay a private party?

Matt Rings

I do not like this idea- what is to stop a hacker from bumping up against you with a reader and gaining access to your credit card info? Seems way too easy to me...

Robert Volk

Robert: Master card deals with hackers every day. This seems at least as secure as the systems already in place (in that this system requires a PIN). I have no love lost for Citi though, so Google may have to find another partner before I can say I am actually excited about this offer.

Charles Bosse
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