Electronic wallet service Google Wallet will launch soon with Citi MasterCard, paypass and Google SingleTap support. Consumers can also keep loyalty accounts and special offers synched with their e-wallet for on-site savings.
The ubiquitous Internet company announced Google Wallet today, a service which uses near field communication to enable cell phones to act as credit cards. NFC-enabled phones will store credit card information on a free mobile application, then be tapped on a point-of-sale device to perform the purchase.
When Google Wallet launches, Citi MasterCard holders will be able to link their account right away, and the rest of consumers can load a Google Prepaid Card with credit from any account. Additionally, compatible phones are limited - only the Nexus S 4G is currently compatible with the service. Google plans to expand support to more phones, as well as win more banks over to participate. This way, consumers can add all their credit cards, gift cards, loyalty accounts to Google Wallet - and eventually even more uses.
On the merchant side, shops with a MasterCard paypass POS device can offer Google Wallet support at launch. Among vendors, national chains such as Bloomingdales, The Container Store and Walgreens where Google SingleTap will be available. Businesses and online vendors can choose to participate in offers and loyalty programs, and Google Offers and Google Wallet sync so that consumers have automatic access to these deals. By showing the cashier the offer on the phone screen, the consumer can redeem the offer, or at SingleTap merchants, he can pay and redeem simultaneously.
Often when finances and technology meet there are security concerns, and Google Wallet is no exception. In addition to the normal inconvenience of a lost or stolen phone, Google Wallet users will have to treat it as a stolen wallet as well - meaning calling their credit card company. As their FAQ explains, the payment credentials are stored in a chip called the Secure Element and data is also PIN-protected.