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Google opens its near field payments virtual wallet

More secure than your real wallet
Thu May 26 2011, 17:57

ADVERTISING AND SEARCH FIRM Google has, as expected, shown off its near field communications 'Wallet' payment service.

Surprise, surprise, the Google Wallet is a virtual wallet for your Google phone and, in a much anticipated Youtube video, the firm said that it had worked with some providers, just in the US for now, that will help it roll out and initially test its payment services.

On hand then are Citigroup, Mastercard and a couple of US cities, New York and San Francisco, which will see early trials. After these trials, which are expected to start soon, the Google Wallet service and its associated offers will be rolled out further across the company, said Stephanie Tilenius, Google's VP of commerce.

The company also announced Google Offers, which is a complimentary service and lets users use their handsets to apply retail discounts. In a presentation Google said that these will be easy to use and will require that the phone owner just either show it to a cashier or tap their device against a till, for example.

Although payment merchant providers are already lined up to assist, Google is also offering a virtual pre-paid card. Funds can be added to this card from other cards, the firm explained, for which the vision is that the need to carry around multiple payment methods will be removed.

Security is in place, of course, and anecdotally the company described its wallet as more secure than an actual wallet. The chip has a lot of security 'baked in', Google said, and it uses things like over-the-air provisioning to involve the user's bank in transactions, something that should also improve security. µ


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