NFC App Review: Katie Boehret Offers Her Two Cents on Google Wallet

  • As reported on ETCentric yesterday, Google Wallet rolled out this week. The technology allows you to pay for products and services by merely swiping your phone over a “tap payment” terminal (only MasterCard PayPass-enabled terminals right now). While only the Nexus S 4G phone is currently supported, there will be more phones coming soon that include the NFC (near field communication) chip.
  • Reporting for All Things D, Katie Boehret took the mobile app for a test drive. “I’ve been trying Google Wallet in Washington, DC, and Palo Alto, California, and I find it delightfully easy to use,” she writes. “Though still in its infancy, it isn’t hard to imagine digital payments catching on and becoming commonplace.”
  • Boehret points out that only the Citi MasterCard can be added to Google Wallet for now, but a Google Prepaid Card can accept other credit cards, and Google says other cards are coming (the company is working with Visa, Discover and American Express).
  • PayPal and Square are working on their own digital-payment systems, both of which do not require the NFC chip, so they will work on many phones.
  • Beyond payment, Google Wallet will let you register your store loyalty and gift cards (expect to see this from the likes of CVS, Macy’s and American Outfitters); however, you cannot register forms of ID, suggesting that despite its ease-of-use, the app is not a replacement for your wallet.
  • “Google Wallet can’t hold your driver’s license or other official forms of identification, so even if it takes off and works everywhere, you’ll still have to carry your license with you,” concludes Boehret.

Get Ready to Tap Away: Google Wallet NFC App now Live in Limited Locations

  • Google’s long-awaited Wallet app, which works via near-field communication (NFC) technology, is now officially live in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC.
  • The service allows users with a current Paypass-enabled Citi Mastercard to pay at retail stores (and any other businesses with a contactless payment — or “tap payment” terminal) simply by waving their NFC-enabled phone.
  • “In the app, users will be able to link their Citi card with Google Wallet,” explains TG Daily. “That is, when they go to a drug store or fast food restaurant, or take a cab, or anywhere else that has a contactless payment terminal, all users will need to do is open the app on their phone, tap it to the credit card terminal, and that’s it.”
  • While there are still many limitations — users must also have a Sprint Nexus S phone (for now) — this is the first step toward a mobile payment system for which Google has big plans.
  • “For those of you worried about security, Google tells us that your card information will be stored in a single place, on a chip,” reports The Next Web. “That means that it should be at least somewhat firewalled from unauthorized software access. However, there is another failsafe that limits new cards to $100 until the owner releases the limitation so that should help to quell any fears.”
  • Google explained in May that the system was ready for action at over 300,000 merchants, with another 120,000 possible. And additional credit card companies will be joining the effort soon. According to a Google blog post: “We appreciate Citi and MasterCard for being our launch partners. And today, Visa, Discover and American Express have made available their NFC specifications that could enable their cards to be added to future versions of Google Wallet.”