Of Special Interest


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20th September 2011

Google Wallet live in US

Google Wallet went live in the US. Currently the only widely available phone with the required Android operating system and NFC communication is the Nexus S 4G. The pay by touch feature can be used at any MasterCard PayPass terminal by touching the phone to the pay terminal. There are now 120,000 in the US. A further significant restriction is that it is only Citigroup MasterCards or Google prepaid cards that can be used with the wallet.

Most Smartphones are expected to incorporate NFC in future models. The earlier rumours that the iPhone 5 would include NFC have gone quiet recently leaving people uncertain as to whether it will make it into this model or not. The iPhone 5 is due to be launched in the US next month. There is also no official time-scale for an Apple operating system version of the wallet.

In an update to the beginning of trial announcement some months ago Google say the wallet will be modified in future to work with American Express, Discover and Visa. A statement from Visa confirmed it had granted Google a world-wide licence to use the wallet software in conjunction with its PayWave contactless terminals. Google has not announced any plans for expansion to other countries at this time. A part of the wallet is 'Google Offers', a service for retailers to direct electronic coupons to store in the users' wallet. It will link to search results so that someone searching for a product will receive discounted offers for that product from local retailers.

Google interestingly was quite modest with its claims during some interviews stressing this was version 1.0, and that it would develop rapidly over the next few months. It is also to focus initial marketing in New York and San Francisco encouraging retailer involvement.

Isis, supported by the big 4 US mobile operators is due to start trials next year. PayPal is also making a push into POS.