Hack opens Google Wallet to Aussie trial

Summary:Google's Wallet product has been limited to the US since its launch, but there's now a way for Australians to get it to temporarily work, for those curious to try it.

Google's Wallet product has been limited to the US since its launch, but there's now a way for Australians to get it to temporarily work, for those curious to try it.

(Visa sticks NFC into a microSD card image by Tom Purves, CC BY 2.0)

The product allows people to tap or swipe their NFC-enabled (near-field communication) smartphones to pay at the checkout. It was officially launched in the US on the Samsung Nexus S; however, Australians have been missing out on the payment system, since it can't be set up on Australian devices.

Previously, the only option available to those curious to try it out was to sign up for a smartphone service in the US via Sprint, and then import the device across to Australia themselves.

However, after following a hack on the XDA Developers forum, Ausdroid's Daniel Tyson has been able to set up Google Wallet on his Australian Nexus S and make a purchase locally using the US$10 pre-paid credit that Google offers for new users.

Unfortunately, according to Tyson, there's no way to top up the credit once used, but for those who have NFC-enabled devices and have been wanting to try Wallet for some time, it does offer some relief.

Whether NFC will gain traction in Australian is still yet to be seen, with many industries split on the technology. ANZ called its NFC trial a failure, while the Commonwealth Bank has gone all-in, skipping the trial and expecting to go straight to a live roll-out by the end of the year. PayPal has previously said that it would bring NFC to the Australian market within the year, while EFTPOS has said that another pilot isn't the answer.

Even manufacturers appear to be divided, with Hewlett-Packard rumoured to have NFC in its plans, but Apple long ago indicated that it wasn't interested in NFC for the iPhone just yet, leaving users to find their own ways to use it.

Topics: Google, Banking, E-Commerce

About

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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