Google unveils app for paying with phone

Technology
On Thursday, the technology giant introduced Google Wallet, a mobile application that will allow consumers to wave their cellphones at a retailer’s terminal to make a payment instead of using a credit card. The app, for the Android operating system, will also enable users to redeem special coupons and earn loyalty points. Starting this summer, the wallet will be available on the Nexus S 4G phone on Sprint and able to hold certain MasterCards issued by Citibank. It will also hold a virtual Google Prepaid MasterCard. The mobile wallet will work at any of the 124,000 merchants that accept MasterCard’s PayPass terminals, which take contactless payments, and more than 300,000 merchants outside the United States.

The wallet is powered by a technology called near-field communications, which is incorporated into a chip in mobile phones and sends a message to the merchants’ terminals. “Eventually, you will be able to put everything in your wallet,” Stephanie Tilenius, vice president for commerce at Google, said at a news conference. That grand vision will take a while to come to fruition. Various players have been working on mobile wallets for years, but they have not gained traction because the companies have not been able to agree on how they would be paid or who would control the wallets. Cellular carriers, banks, credit card issuers, payment networks and technology companies all have a stake in this battle.
Source: www.nytimes.com, May 26, 2011

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