If you have a Nexus S 4G from Sprint, and live in either New York City or San Francisco, you could be among the first to give Google Wallet and Google Offers a try this summer. In fact, if you activate the Google Prepaid Card you will automatically receive $10 from Google to spend at select retailers.
Google just announced today its plans to replace your analogue wallet with Android smartphones, beginning with the Nexus S 4G, available from Sprint. Because the Nexus S is embedded with a New Field Communication (NFC) chip that enables short-range communication between devices, owners of the phone will be able to testdrive Google Wallet and receive Google Offers from the these participating retailers with a MasterCard PayPass terminal in New York and San Francisco.
Users will have the option to charge items directly to their Citi MasterCard stored on their phone (a PIN number will be required to access the credit card so even if the phone is lost or stolen, thieves will not be able to make purchases, according to Google), or preload money onto the Google Prepaid Card online (using funds from any bank) or virtual gift cards from retail partners. According to Between the Lines, customers can also opt to "show the display to a cashier on the way out" rather than tap on the PayPass terminal.
Feeling squeamish about linking your credit card to your phone? Well, Google is already two-steps ahead by offering skeptical users $10 free to spend just for activating the Google Prepaid Card online. That way, Nexus S users (for now) can give the g-Wallet a try without first handing over their financial information.
Along with the convenience of paying for stuff with just a tap of your smartphone against a PayPass terminal, Google Wallet users will also receive Google Offers -- geo-sensitive coupons and loyalty rewards from retailers -- directly on their phones. Hyperlocal daily deals will only be available in Portland, New York City and San Francisco; they will be be posted on this page and delivered to subscribers' inboxes. (In other words, Google Offers will be available to non-Nexus S 4G owners.)
Google better hope Sprint moves many Nexus S 4Gs out the door between now and launch because retailers and other financial institutions will be reluctant to jump on-board unless they see a lot of demand from customers, and customers won't demand this feature on their next phone or from their banks unless they have a chance to try the g-Wallet out. This is very early in Google's foray into the mobile payment market but it will require many stars to align in Google's favor before its Wallet will become ubiquitous. Are you ready to give your wallet to Google?
Additional ZDNet coverage on the Google Wallet and Google Offers:
- Google Wallet NFC payment program, Google Offers announced
- Google Wallet: Handicapping why it will (and won't) work