Ready, set, swipe with Google Wallet

Ane Howard · September 19, 2011 · Short URL:

Google gets its digital wallet out on the Sprint Nexus S phone

Back in May, Google announced its intention to make the wallet obsolete, a thing of the past, dismissed as a has-been in the same vein that the yellow pages, cordless phones and answering machines are things of the past.

But now Google is ready to make its intentions, a reality.

After extensive testing, Google announced the rollout of the first version of the app, which is available on Sprint Nexus S 4G phones through an over-the-air update, aptly named the “Wallet” app.

You can make a payment by simply tapping your Smartphone at a compatible card reader at checkout. Essentially, Google is turning your phone into, well, your wallet.

So how does it work?

When you turn Google Wallet on, it features Offers, Credit Cards, History, and Loyalty Cards, which you use at the point of sale as needed. For now, Google Wallet allows you to pay with your Citi MasterCard credit card and a Google Prepaid Card.

Using a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC) built into select, read limited, Android Smartphones, Google Wallet replaces your credit or debit cards.

You tap your handset against a compatible card reader, your payment is transferred and Voila! transaction is completed. 

How about security?

As terrifying and unthinkable for some, the idea of combining your credit cards and your phone may be, Google Wallet has some nifty security to protect against hacking, and may be technically more secure than your phone.  If your phone is snatched from you, or you haven’t used it in 30 minutes, or the screen is off, the transmitter chip cannot be powered. Also, it stores no data.  To restart it, a PIN is required. Without it, the app is disabled and even which cards are in your Wallet are hidden.

When can I go shopping with Google Wallet?

Even though it may be many years before there is wide access to the technology and NFC terminal are widespread across the nation, Google Wallet is a product that truly could revolutionize the way we conduct business. 

Visa and MasterCard are on-board. And eventually Discover and American Express will work with the app as well, Google said Monday.

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Ane Howard

I am a social journalist covering technology innovations and the founder of, an international newswire.

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