Google Wallet and Google Offers Innovate the Mobile Payment Space Like We’ve Never Seen Before


We just got done watching the live stream of Google announcing Google Wallet and Google Offers in conjunction with Sprint, FirstData, Citi and Mastercard. It’s everything we imagined it to be and more. Using an NFC phone, you’ll soon be able to tap POS systems to quickly and securely make payments without the need to carry around any more plastic other than what may have been used to construct your phone.

It’s so much more than just payments, though. Google also announced Google Offers, a companion service which enables retailers to deliver offers to their customers handsets, and which enables customers to easily redeem them using that same handset.

All of the partners mentioned above convened in New York to show off the new technology that Google is set to launch this Summer. They detailed everything – from how the NFC chip securely stores and handles the data to how you’ll actually use the applications on your Android phones.

How it’ll work

In the demo, setting up Google Wallet looked very simple. From the start, you’re asked to enter a pin number that will be used to access Google Wallet every time you open the application. After you’re in, you’re asked to add a credit card. You do just that, entering your credit card information into a series of text fields just as you would any website online or any mobile payments form.

Upon entering your details, three things happen. First, your bank verifies that you are who you say you are as they securely receive your request and details. Once they do, they securely send that information to FirstData, who is a “trusted services manager”. They see that the bank has given them the green light as far as authentication goes.

After that, FirstData sends a token back to your device saying it’s OK for you to use your wallet on your phone. It sounds like a long process, but it happens in seconds. After that, you can start buying stuff but you can only use $100 until you activate/verify your account to use that card. (Usually done through email.)

If you don’t want to use multiple credit cards on the same phone, or if you don’t have a Citi Mastercard, you can add funds to a “GCard” that is usable just like a regular card at any supported point of sale.

Google, in conjunction with FastData, has taken security very seriously in the venture and have gone above and beyond industry standards to ensure the utmost safety for consumers and their partners with innovative hardware and software-based solutions. Do not try to open your Nexus S or any phone with NXP’s secure chip inside – your NFC chip will purposely break. And that part of the NFC chip won’t even be powered on until you enter the NFC wallet application and submit your pin number.

What you can do with it

After that, you’ll be able to walk into any enabled retailer and use your phone to make purchases just as you would with a credit card. Going further, Google Offers will enable you to take advantage of deals that your favorite retailers are offering. You can search Google for, say, a bicycle and find that a bicycle shop has a 20% off coupon. Simply click “save to wallet” and it’ll be there on your phone to redeem at the point of sale.

Things get really cool where you can send multiple coupons and cards through one tap. Google calls this SingleTap and will make it easier and quicker for you to take advantage of all of the offers you can and pay for your goods. No longer will you have to fish for that coupon, scan your rewards card, then swipe your credit card. All of that can be sent to the point of sale in one fell swoop.

It’s a two-way system, as well. A merchant can automatically detect if you’ve been shopping at their store a lot and can set you up with a rewards account and card that is stored on your phone right away at the point of sale. And you don’t have to remember that punch card or rewards card when you go to buy more coffee – just keep buying with your phone and you’ll eventually unlock that free cup of java. Gift cards will also be supported in a similar way as regular credit cards.

What the future holds

And it doesn’t stop here, apparently. Google’s looking to add many other things to the system in the future, such as giving merchants the ability to send receipts to your phone instead of having to print paper.

One use case that immediately popped into my head was McDonalds Monopoly. It comes around every year and you’re bound to lose those tiny pieces that come with your meals. McDonalds could send your game piece to your phone right when you buy the meal so that you don’t have to deal with keeping track of those little buggers.

Other use cases include storing tickets to a movie, concert or sporting event and being granted admission by tapping your phone at a node.

There are probably a lot more things that could be done with it that I can’t even think of at the moment. This type of functionality will be possible due to the vast open nature of the platform. In their press briefing, Google stressed that being open, flexible and inviting was the only way they would consider going about this movement.

When, where and with whom all of this is happening

The service is being made free so that even the smallest of shoppes can accept Google Wallet and Google Offers. It’s a great strategic move by Google that should position them well in this space up against competition ISIS (who is currently collaborating with carriers Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T on their own solution). Sprint is the only American carrier who has partnered with Google on this venture.

Google’s inviting anyone and everyone to jump on board, including carriers, merchants, credit card providers/banks and more. They’re running trials in San Francisco starting this stummer, and will eventually expand the service nationwide in the months to come. Merchant partners include Subway, American Eagle Outfitters, Macy’s, Walgreens, Toys R Us, Noah’s Bengals and a lot more to start.

You’ll be able to use it at any PayPass-enabled point of sale system, and you can only use Wallet with a Citi Mastercard at this time. Google is working on adding more credit card providers and banks in the future. In the meantime, those without Citi Mastercard can add funds from any credit card to the “GCard” detailed above. Google has stated that, starting out, over 120,000 merchant locations will be enabled with this technology in the United States and over 300,000 locations will be enabled worldwide, with more to come after launch.

Google says they don’t expect this to become as common as credit cards for quite some time. And if you don’t have a Nexus S, don’t worry – Google’s expecting 50% of all smartphones to be NFC-enabled by 2014. Head over to Google.com/wallet for more information.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I dont see how this is so great… 1 phone in the US has NFC and also once its all up and running, whats faster?.. get your phone out, unlock it, go to the app and then hand them your phone or… get your wallet out and hand them your card?  Then what happens if it gets hacked and your credit card info gets out…

    1. lol you naysayers always crack me up :)

      1. You don’t hand them your phone. This is faster because all the hassle of receipts and coupons are automatic.

      2. Your credit card info isn’t stored on your phone.

      NFC payments are the most popular way to pay for things in some countries.  This isn’t anything groundbreaking–just new to the US.

    2. You don’t have to unlock your phone and open the app, all you have to do is turn on the screen. And you don’t hand your phone to the salesperson, you tap it on the NFC pad. The real benefit is things like offers, easy reward points, and ease-of-use. Plus having multiple cards in one place is great.

      1. That is worse than losing your wallet bc if you lose your phone and have this your screwed since you said there is no app so no security or password protection and I have multiple cards in one place lol its called a wallet..

        1. how is this worst? you have to enter your password before you wave the phone in front of the cashier NFC pad.

        2. They still need to enter a pin with every single transaction.

    3. As with most shopping scenarios, typically you’ve already got your wallet in your hand, ready to swipe your credit card.
      It won’t really be that hard to swap muscle memory of having your phone in your hand instead and just do a simple tap. Quite frankly, the phone process will be quicker.

    4. well most people these days can’t put down their phone to save their lives.LOL!!!

  2. I love Google but if customer service for my credit card was an internet forum I would freak.

  3. As someone who has been working in the credit card processing industry for 4 years now, and someone who works directly with merchants on their payment solutions, I can honestly say that this is a HUGE announcement, and will truly revolutionize the way merchants and customers interact.  Partnering with First Data on this will assure that it gets adopted and used by the masses.  Way to go Google!

    1. Partnering with First Data and MasterCard will ensure security. Your credit card number will not be on your phone. Only a token is placed on your phone. First data will be able to decrypt the token then look up your card number.

  4. BUT… can it be used in Apple stores? :P

    1. It will be accepted only if used to purchase the Iphone but you must agree to surrender the android device before joining the collective and prior to assimilation.

      At least this what I was told by 308149 of 98371656

    2. All joking aside.  Of course it would work.  Short of the store telling you that you couldn’t use your Android device it would work fine.

      NFC is a protocol.  Just like HTTP, FTP, and BitTorrent

  5. I love GOOGLE!

  6. dp

  7. Google better put some great encryption on these files cause i’m sure the hacking community will be all over this.

    It better have a secondary pass protection aside from just powering up the device because I think people are far more likely to lose their phones than their wallets.

    1. I would take a 4 digit pin over a signature any day of the week. Credit cards are an absolute joke, people can buy things on the internet without even having access to your card and if someones steals your card they can basically scribble any signature they want, I’ve tested this many times, only a few retailers check. Of course they will have heavy security no company in the world wants a PSN nightmare.

    2. 1. Screen lock

      2. 4 digit pin to access Google wallet app

      3. Remote wipe if lost

  8. Leaving NFC is on is too much of a battery drain for me to ever use it.

    Swiping a card is just fine with me.

    1. It depends on how it’s implemented. If the nfc device is in active mode it would drain batteries but if switched to passive mode no power would be used. The reader at the checkstand would activate the nfc unit by sending a carrier signal that would power the nfc device my modulating the coil. Just like how you read RFID cards. The cards contain no batteries. For you to use your phone to read the card would use batteries. For a paypass card reader to read your phone would not (if the NFC is in passive mode).

  9. Guys, Im sure the option to type a password before every purchase will be added. Plus, like others have said, this has been used all over the world for a while now. 

  10. Also I would like to add, Google is getting on my nerves with how they have announced this for Sprint Nexus S devices, but not the T-Mobile Nexus S. This has become their way lately. What the hell is up with that? I have a Nexus device and I should be getting the latest and greatest. They both have NFC and there shouldn’t be anything on their phones that makes it work over mine.

    1. didn’t you read the article? sprint was the only provider willing to jump on board with google on this venture…

      1. Not really sure what the carrier has to do with using the NFC service.

        Plus, the first model of the Nexus S isn’t branded by any carrier.

        1. The Unlocked Nexus S has NFC, so it will be able to use this too. Just like when more Android phones get NFC even if they are on a different carriers, if they download the Google Wallet app and like it better than ISIS then they can use it too the main requirement here is NFC – that’s it. I think the only reason they were calling out Sprint was just to show the other carriers there is competition against ISIS

        2. Because the other carriers went with ISIS.  Maybe you forgot that the carriers refuse to be ISPs and instead want to offer services so the choice isn’t solely in your hands?

    2. Its ok count to ten and take a deep breath.

      1. I have questions, and unless you have answers, you should stay away. 

        This is unlike what they market the Nexus experience is supposed to be.

  11. US ONLY???? again u screw me over Google!
    Then again, I dont have an nfc phone  nor a credit card. :P
    And I too am wondering how the customer service is handeled. Is it a Google phone number? Google forum? Your own creditcard company? What is it?

  12. if every store support it, then, it will be awesome.

  13. you clearly didn’t read the article…the app already needs PIN before you can pay(look at the security section). Also the NFC is only on when you enable the app so it shouldn’t drain your battery.

  14. Why do I get the feeling that rooted users will be blocked from this too? o_O

  15. Google announces there mobile payment system Google Wallet http://bit.ly/h1rLOK

  16. I wonder how much longer until Google becomes self aware, Oct 21st? ;)

  17. Google Wallet Product Launch Livestream – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZAV6sIzzog

  18. This is a great new way for consumers to pay.  I think many people will now be using Google to help them find daily deal discounts.


    A great way for consumers to utilize
    and find these deals is by going to http://www.dailydealpool.com.  They’ll send you a daily email with the best
    discounts in your area from all the daily deal sites out there, making it
    easier than ever for you to save.

  19. Google is always full of great ideas which is nothing but a plus for us android faithful. I just wish the evo3d came with nfc sooner or later every device will have it.

  20. The Google’s step towards a open commerce ecosystem is going
    to draw a lot of attentions from the retailers as they get a new way to target
    their potential customers and also increase the buyer population. However, the
    geotargeting option might be a safeguard measure to save the public from
    privacy intrusion. 

  21. Fail

  22. Yeah, by stealing PayPal tech, which has just sued their ass off. Google and Android are going to be buried under lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft, PayPal, and Lord knows who else.

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