A wallet is tomb where business cards and receipts go to die. They also house credits cards, cash and important identifying documents like insurance cards and IDs.
Worn at the bends and shoved into back pockets and handbags, wallets are among our most important belongings. Before Google, that is.
The Google Wallet was announced last week, a digital pocketbook conveniently located on your smartphone. Using tap-and-pay NFC technology, Google can now transform your already impressively equipped smartphone into a wallet. Currently available on the Nexus S 4G Google phone from Sprint, the Google Wallet works by way of a little chip inside the phone and can be used at PayPass-enabled retailers. As of now, Google Wallet is still in the field-testing stage in New York and San Francisco but plans to rapidly expand throughout the country this summer.
A Google Wallet user has the option of linking a Citi MasterCard or a loading a virtual Google Prepaid card with funds and linking either of these options to the Google Wallet. The Google Wallet is a pin-activated app, meaning you can’t make a payment without first entering a pin number-much like a debit card. Some of the first retailers to join in on the digital wallet evolution include American Eagle Outfitters, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, The Container Store, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy’s, RadioShack, Subway, Toys“R”Us and Walgreens.
Google Wallet will also sink all of your store loyalty programs and coupons to your smartphone as well. No more annoying keychain tags.
Although the mere tap of your phone on an electronic pad sounds simplistic and great – think concerts and festivals, no more fumbling with credit cards and cash – we can’t help but wonder what Google will do with the information they will undoubtedly be logging regarding our purchases. Advertisers and retailers will suddenly have access to some serious statistics about our buying habits. Will health care providers use our purchases against us? What happens if our phone is stolen or we have crappy service in a store – does anyone ever have more than one bar inside a Macy’s? We imagine this field-testing period is bringing to light a lot of these very issues that will hopefully be resolved before mass release of the new payment method.
Are you excited about the Google Wallet?