It’s official… *Google Wallet* wants everyone to make their phone their wallet! The Android app is set to launch on the Sprint Nexus S 4G Google phone in the coming months. Google Wallet actually stores virtual versions of existing plastic cards on your phone. (uh-oh?) It simply requires a retail outlet to supply the *Google Wallet Reader*, a near-field communication technology, on which the user taps her phone to send a payment (and soon offers and loyalty information).
Are you scared yet? If not, read on… At launch, Google Wallet will support payment from Citi® MasterCard®, the Google Prepaid Card, and gift cards at participating merchants.
Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint have collaborated with Google to create their new vision of an “open commerce ecosystem” designed to benefit consumers and merchants. This vision is for Google Wallet to ultimately hold all of the cards kept in a traditional wallet. (OK, so my purse will weigh less.) Google Wallet is a mobile app, which means it will be able to do more than a regular wallet ever could, like storing thousands of payment cards and offers without the bulk. Eventually loyalty cards, gift cards, receipts, boarding passes, tickets, even keys will be seamlessly synced.
The plan to redeem offers and loyalty credit at most stores, is to simply show the offer to the cashier at check out. The cashier will either scan the offer’s barcode or manually enter it. Google Wallet will store loyalty cards for participating *SingleTap™ Merchants*. At checkout, Google Wallet will transmit loyalty account information.
In the near future, merchant offer redemption and loyalty programs will be supported.
All this sounds convenient, right? But is it secure? Google Wallet requires the user to set up a Google Wallet PIN that must be entered before making a purchase. This PIN is intended to prevent unauthorized access and payments via Google Wallet. As a side note, Android phones also feature a separate lock screen.
Will this be the beginning of the end of all the dead presidents and plastic cards? Well… I’m not going to toss the coins for the parking meter just yet!