Google announced a new service today called Google Wallet. Here’s what you need to know…
There are 2 parts that make this service work.
1. Google Wallet Android App: this app stores virtual versions of your existing plastic credit cards on your phone
*these are stored securely…it is locked by a password and won’t ever display your full credit card number/information
2. NFC Chip: this stands for Near Field Communications chip…this micro chip can either be built into your phone, or it can be applied as a sticker on the back of your phone.
-The name basically says what it does. When this chip is placed near a sensor (like a credit card payment sensor, a subway turnstyle sensor, etc), it can communicate with it and transfer information (ex. payment, subway access, etc). This technology is actually not new. Most of us have used a metro pass that we tap on a sensor and it lets us on the subway/bus. A lesser extent of us have tried tapping our credit cards on Pay Pass sensors to pay instead of swiping the card. I say a lesser extent because most people that have credit cards that can do this don’t even know it. If your credit card has a little symbol on the back of it that looks like a WiFi symbol (my mom calls it a windshield wiper symbol), then you can just tap your credit card on a Pay Pass sensor instead of swiping the card. Try it the next time you are going through a fast-food drive through…it’s super convenient! But I digress…I’m just mentioning these examples because I feel like when people hear NFC, they think it’s something new, and thus be tentative to use it. This technology is nothing new really. What’s new is that Google is helping us condense all the plastic cards in our wallet down to virtual versions in our phones, which we can then tap on sensors to transfer payment/information.
At the most basic level, I think a service like Google Wallet is going to be awesome because it will cut down on stuff in our pockets, and it will provide faster, more hygienic transactions. Looking at the bigger picture, there will be a huge number of uses for a service like Google Wallet (coupons, memberships, etc.), but I’ll leave the speculation to the experts.
Who can use this?
-if you have a Samsung Nexus S* and a Citi Mastercard, then you’re good to go…or if you don’t have a Citi Mastercard, you can use any credit card to put money onto a Google Debit card and use that. (Citi is the only partner on board now, but more are joining soon).
*currently the only phones with NFC built in are the Samsung Nexus S phones (NFC stickers will be released soon that we can place on the back of our phones to enable them with this functionality).
Where can this be used?
-Google has a list of places this can be used at (click here), but I’ll list a few places here…
-CVS, 7-11, Foot Locker, Jamba Juice, Rite Aid, Sbarro, Petco, Office Depot, a lot of places, u get the idea!