Earlier this year Google showed off the newest of their mobile services designed to make life easier, Google Wallet. Google Wallet is an application that uses an Android phone equipped with a near field communication chip (or NFC chip) and links it to your debit or credit card. You can then leave the card at home and as long as you have your phone with you, make purchases using the application. Currently it’s in beta and only works in Portland and San Francisco but Google is committed to rolling out more cities over time.
Requirements and How It Works
Currently in order to take part in the beta you need to own either a Nexus S from T-Mobile or and Nexus S 4G from Sprint. You also need to be a Citi Bank customer with a master card and be in either the Portland or San Francisco areas. If you meet those requirements Google will be happy to allow you to take part in the beta. Google Wallet is also easy to use, just add your card information in settings (Google will verify with your bank) and you should see it when you boot up the app. When wanting to pay for things just open the app, tap the card you want to use and enter your pin. You’ll see a message that it’s ready for payment and all you have to do is wave it by the sensor. Having tried it out myself for the first time recently, I was shocked at how quick and easy it was.
Security and Availability
Many first reactions to Google Wallet is concerns over the security of their personal information. Because Google Wallet requires your PIN it’s every bit as secure as a traditional credit or debt card with the added bonus of being able to locate your phone if it’s stolen via GPS. Often new payment technologies are slow to integration but many businesses are already equipped to support NFC payment. Any store with a MasterCard quick pay at the register all ready has the equipment needed and most new high end Coke Machine now also come equipped with NFC support.
Written by Maria Rainier