Google makes mobile wallet public

Google has launched its mobile “wallet” that allows users to pay for items by swiping their mobile phones against specialised terminals in retail stores.


The wallet is currently available to owners of the Nexus S Android phone on the US Sprint network who have signed up to a Citi MasterCard account or own a Google Prepaid card.

Google Wallet is initially launching in the US only, although the service can be used at the 300,000 international outlets that accept MasterCard PayPass, such as Burger King, Boots and Tesco.

The company says that Visa, Discover and American Express have made their near field communications (NFC) specifications available to Google, which could enable their cards to be used in future versions of the Wallet.

A European roll out is also expected soon, following the appointment of an EMEA commerce marketing team, who leads Google’s Wallet and offers division, which provides consumers with location-based deals on their Android smartphones.

The EMEA head of commerce marketing, Yasmina Brihi, reports to Google’s marketing director for UK and Ireland Torsten Schuppe.

Google says it will focus its marketing and sales efforts on San Francisco and New York as it works with retailers in the region to employ its “SingleTap” process that allows customers to pay for items and redeem vouchers and loyalty card points by tapping their phone once on a terminal.

Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and O2 have created a joint venture (JV) to create a standardised platform to implement mobile contactless payment in the UK. The move has compelled Three, which was not invited to become a launch partner, to urge European regulators to block the JV on anti-competition grounds.

Phone manufacturers such as Nokia and Blackberry have also stated their intentions to launch their own mobile wallet services this year.

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