Google opens its Wallet in the US

Google has launched Google Wallet, its mobile payments system, in the US.In a blog post on Monday, the company said it had been testing Google Wallet extensively, and was launching it in collaboration with the operator Sprint, as well as partners Citi, MasterCard and First Data.

Google has launched Google Wallet, its mobile payments system, in the US.

In a blog post on Monday, the company said it had been testing Google Wallet extensively, and was launching it in collaboration with the operator Sprint, as well as partners Citi, MasterCard and First Data.

The first phone to get the Google Wallet app will be Sprint's 4G variant of the Nexus S. The NFC-enabled phone will then be usable as a payment device, by tapping it on compatible terminals at points of sale. Cash can be loaded onto the app using a City MasterCard or Google Prepaid Card.

"When we announced Google Wallet, we pledged a commitment to an open commerce ecosystem," Google's blog post read. "We appreciate Citi and MasterCard for being our launch partners. And today, Visa, Discover and American Express have made available their NFC specifications that could enable their cards to be added to future versions of Google Wallet. "

Google has not announced any plans to bring Google Wallet to the UK. However, three of the four mobile network operators — Everything Everywhere, Telefonica and O2 — are setting up their own mobile payments platform for the UK market.

The fact that Three, the smallest of the four operators, was excluded from the deal has led to that company complaining to the European Commission that the arrangement is anti-competitive.

Google told ZDNet UK sister site ZDNet Australia that it is technically possible to go to the US, get the appropriate Sprint phone and use that outside the country — it will work with any MasterCard PayPass terminal in the world. However, that would mean paying an excessive amount for being a roaming customer in one's own country.