Google is teaming with MasterCard, Citigroup and Sprint to launch a new phone-based mobile payment system.
The project, called Google Wallet, will enable special chips embedded in many future Android devices to be used for payments. Instead of swiping a credit card, customers will be able to wave their Android phone in front of a reader to make a payment.
“We’re about to embark on a new era of commerce where we bring online and offline together,” Stephanie Tilenius, Google’s vice president of commerce, said Thursday at a press event in New York unveiling the project. “We believe the shopping experience has not yet been transformed by technology or by magical experiences. Now, your phone can be your wallet — you just tap, pay, and save.”
For now, only Citibank customers will be able to use their phones as digital wallets, linking their phones to credit or debit cards, but Google developed an open platform that can be used on any device or card. The company hopes more partners will soon come on board. Android users will be able to manage their transactions via an application on their smartphones.
The system is only available on Sprint’s Nexus S phone for now, but Google is requiring that near-field communications (NFC) chips be embedded on Android devices that launch with the latest version of the operating system. That means that most new Android phones going on sale later this year will be able to use Google’s new payments system.
Google Wallet will launch in San Francisco and New York this summer, and will go national across the USA “in the coming months.”
For the Nigerian market, we hope to experience this technology, sooner than later.