Google has officially announced the launch of its mobile contactless payment program based on near field communications (NFC) technology, which allows consumers to buy products and services by tapping their smartphones at any of the over 300,000 merchant terminals that are able to accept MasterCard PayPass transactions.
So far, the technology is available only through the Sprint Nextel Nexus S smartphone, which runs on version 2.3.4 of the Android operating system, and contains an NFC chip.
Moreover, the service is starting by only allowing either Citi MasterCards that have been PayPass-enabled to be loaded into the Google Wallet, or a prepaid MasterCard from Google that consumers can fill using any other existing credit card. Google Wallet is not yet ready to accept debit card transactions.
The first official confirmation of the Google Wallet service occurred at the end of May 2011, when Google made its initial announcement that it would be partnering with Sprint as well as a number of financial service providers, such as Citi, MasterCard, and First Data, to allow its subscribers to redeem discount coupons, collect and redeem loyalty rewards, and purchase products through the use of their NFC enabled Android smartphones.
This massive m-commerce solution blends two applications, Google Wallet and Google Offers, so that an open ecosystem could result, with intentions from Google to create APIs that support multiple partner integration.
According to Osama Bedier, the vice president of payments at Google, “We want to invite banks, carriers, merchants and POS system providers to help bring about these richer experiences.”