As expected, Google has announced Google Wallet; the NFC-based mobile payments method that’s going to render your credit card obsolete.
With Google Wallet, you’ll be able to tap your NFC-enabled phone against a reader, enter your PIN number and pay for stuff on your credit card just like that. Nice, easy and oh so 21st Century. And, just like Google Music, US-only for the time being.
Announced in conjunction with Citi MasterCard and a number of retailers including Subway, Foot Locker and Macy’s, the deal is very much a Stateside thing for now.
But with Orange partnering with Samsung to launch NFC SIMs and O2 working on revamping its Money offering here in the UK, there’s no reason to suggest that this will be the way of things forever. We want to start tapping to pay for Meatball Marinaras in Subway now goddammit.
As well as MasterCard, Google is also including its own Google Prepaid Card, that you’d be able to top up with credit from other cards (Visa, American Express etc). We’d like to think that Visa and the other players would eventually get on board at some point, what with Google Wallet being an open platform and all.
Along with this, Google also announced Google Offers, which is trialling in Portland, home of Google’s first NFC test, as well as a handful of other US locations.
This sounds a lot like Facebook Deals to us, where you’ll be notified of daily deals on your phone and check in at stores via NFC. Google says that you’ll be able to redeem offers at via NFC or by showing barcodes as you check out.
All exciting sounding stuff – should give Groupon and Living Social a few sleepless nights at any rate.
But is it the death knell for tradtional credit cards? We’re still not totally convinced. If only for the simple reason that your real-life physical wallet won’t ever run out of battery. Because it doesn’t have one.
Until NFC chips become more commonplace and aren’t solely stuck in high-end smartphones with mayfly-like battery lives, we’ll be sticking with out old fashioned wallets for now.