Google Wallet is an application ‘app’ available from the Android Market. The Google Wallet app was officially released in September of 2011 but adoption has been slow, leading them to recently rethink their original strategy.
Anyone that has a mobile phone with the app installed can pay for purchases with an electronic version of their existing credit card. All one needs to do is tap the phone on an NFC receiver. In addition to the proper operating system, mobile phones must be equipped with an NFC (“near-field communication”) chip and a secure element chip. An NFC chip is a technology that can wirelessly communicate when in close proximity to another NFC chip. Phones with NFC chips can send and receive data to other NFC-enabled phones, or NFC chips embedded in other devices or products. Contactless payment systems are the primary application for mobile NFC chips, but in the future, they will allow mobile phones to provide users with several new features.
In addition, Google Wallet has the ability to store coupons and other special offers. The intention of Google is that this app will be able to replace everything someone might keep in his or her traditional wallet.
Google Wallet has several features including:
- Speedy, tap-to-pay credit card payments at locations equipped to support the feature.
- Electronic coupons that can be stored and used by tapping the phone to the receiver. Google Offers will be used to support virtual coupons that can be found on Google Search, Google Maps and Google Shopper. Prepaid Google Offers may also be purchased from the Google Offers hub.
- Encryption of personal information while stored and transmitted
- Additional security features, such as a secret PIN and screen lock.
Google has recently announced that they are releasing a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app. This new version supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover; allowing consumers to use any card when they shop in-store or online with Google Wallet. Additionally the new version will support a remote disable function of the mobile wallet app, from the users Google Wallet account on the web.
Note: Google Wallet is not to be confused with Google Checkout. Google Checkout is a service for online merchants to process credit card payments online. Google Wallet will allow both online and in-person virtual credit card payments for purchases. The two services are unrelated and do not work together.