Google gears up for contactless payment

Google is accelerating towards the European launch of its mobile “wallet” by forming a new marketing department to promote contactless payment.

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The Google mobile wallet, first unveiled by former CEO Eric Schmidt in November last year, will allow consumers to swipe and pay for items and transfer money with their Android smartphones.

The move follows similar efforts from mobile networks O2 and Everything Everywhere. Both are vying to become the first carrier to launch mobile contactless payment services in the UK.

Nokia, which manufactures smartphones running Google rival operating systems by Windows and Symbian, and Blackberry-owner RIM have also stated intentions to launch versions of contactless payment technology their handsets in Europe.

It is likely Google will need to partner with a payment provider, such as Visa or Mastercard, and pay to install compatible terminals at merchant locations in order for a fully functioning rollout of the mobile wallet service.

The company may also need to put in an application to the Financial Services Authority for an e-money licence to enable it to act as an independent financial services provider, without the need to partner with a bank.

Google is currently searching for an EMEA head of commerce marketing to lead its mobile wallet and offers division. Its mobile offers platform will provide consumers with location-based offers on their Android smartphones.

The EMEA head of commerce marketing will also be responsible for hiring two commerce product marketing managers as Google looks to expand the division. The new hire will report to Google’s marketing director for UK and Ireland Torsten Schuppe.

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