Today, Google unveiled Google Wallet and Google Offers at an event in New York City. The company plans to combine the essential elements of retail to make way for the shopping experience of the future. The bundled pairing of mobile payment and coupons involves turning Android-powered smartphones into a digital wallet.
Here’s how it works: Coupons for items you purchase regularly will appear on your phone, as well as out-of-stock merchandise while you’re shopping, with an option to buy the item online. At check-out, wave your phone in front a terminal, which will charge your card. Customer loyalty points from that merchant will also be added to your phone. Eventually receipts will be delivered to your device.
Launching this summer, the platform is powered by NFC or near-field communication technology which is compatible with newer point-of-sale terminals. The first phone equipped for mobile payments will be the Android-based Nexus S, which features an NFC chip and can process payments via MasterCard’s PayPass system. Using both NFC and geo-targeting technologies, Google already also has several partnerships with Citibank, Mastercard, First Data, Sprint and retail support from Macy’s, Walgreen’s, Subway among others.
Google Wallet will first launch in New York and San Francisco, and will expand nationally in the coming months. Google Offers, which is a daily discount sent to the phone, will begin in Portland, Ore., New York and San Francisco. The discounts are designed to be redeemed using the phone to pay.
Google is the latest company to attempt to make a splash in mobile payments, a potentially lucrative area that has attracted not only traditional banks and credit card companies, but wireless carriers and handset manufacturers. Mobile payments seem promising because of the big untapped opportunity in delivering targeted coupons and advertisements through the technology.