Tap and Pay: Google Launches Google Wallet and Google Offers

Up until now, no one has been able to make make mobile payments work for the masses in the U.S., but Google is giving it a go with Google Wallet. The company says it’s embarking on a new era of commerce, bringing the offline and online worlds together by letting consumers use their NFC-equipped phones as their wallets. Mastercard is one of Google’s premiere partners, as is Sprint and retailers like American Eagle, Macy’s, and Subway.

Users will receive discounts in store and will be able to redeem them with a tap. Merchants will be able to leverage their loyalty programs to encourage repeat business. Google is using NFC technology, which the company says will be in 50 percent of smart phones by 2014. Google Wallet will support multiple credit cards as well as a Google prepaid card that supports multiple cards. Get all the details and check out the full gallery below. And don’t forget to watch our video of Google Wallet in action.

The first trials will be in New York and San Francisco. Google Offers will be delivered to your inbox and will work with Google Wallet. You can save them to your wallet and then tap your point of sale. Offers will come in the form of check-in offers, places offers, and ad offers.

How does it work? You pull up the Google Wallet app, agree to the terms, and sync your Google account. Then it asks you for a PIN. You then get the option of adding a credit card. The info you enter is sent to your bank. Once you’re verified, the customer’s card issuing bank sends the account info to a trusted services Manager, in this case First Data. And that’s it; you should be verified from there. Your card should now be in your wallet.

The Google prepaid card comes with every wallet. This allows you to tap and pay at any of the nationwide PayPass locations. You can then add funds from any credit card. Google has also enabled gift cards that users can add. Users can also deactivate cards.

If you’re worried about security, you’re not alone. Google claims that they’re protecting consumers with a secure chip from NXP inside phones like the Nexus S. No one can copy the info stored on this chip. The NFC chip is turned off most of the time; the secure element is only turned on when you enable your phone for payment. If you lose your phone, Google and its partners can literally unprovision credit cards from your device over the air should a criminal crack your PIN.

Google Offers lets you send offers from online to your phone, similar to Chrome to Phone. And you can find more offers around you right on the phone. To demo Google Wallet, American Eagle showed a point of sale terminal. With one tap the SingleTap system processed an order that integrated credit card info, a coupon, and a loyalty reward card.

This fall you’ll be able to pass digital receipts back to your wallet, and Google is investigating other uses of SingleTap, including passing games back to users. Google is inviting more merchants, banks, point of sale providers, and other players in the ecosystem to get involved, and they’re playing up the open nature of this solution.

Google Wallet seems like it has a lot of potential, but they’ll need to be a lot more NFC-equipped phones on the market. And even then Google and its partners will need to educate consumers on how to use this service and address the concerns consumers have about security. Google Offers is an important piece of this puzzle, because it provides incentive to use your NFC phone instead of plastic to make purchases.

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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