Though it was leaked ahead of time, Google officially announced Google Wallet today in New York City. Google Wallet is still in the testing phase and is scheduled to be released soon. When it’s made available, the only device that will be able to use it is the Nexus S 4G which is available on Sprint. Other near field communication (NFC) phones will benefit from Google Wallet later down the line.
The purpose of Google Wallet is to store all your credit cards, gift cards and coupons in one place – a Google phone. Google Wallet stores the information associated with all the plastic cards you carry around now. Whenever you checkout at a participating merchant, you’ll only have to tap your phone on a scanner to complete transactions. Google Wallet will also earn loyalty points and redeem offers when you pay with your phone.
Google Wallet will initially be compatible with Citi MasterCards and a Google Prepaid Card. If you obtain a Google Prepaid Card, you’ll have to put money on it using a variety of other cards you may already have. You can use Google Wallet at stores that accept payments via MasterCard Paypass. Google Wallet will only allow you to use $100 of your Citi MasterCard. If you want to use more, Citi will have to provide you with a special code that has to be entered in Google Wallet.
The only question now is whether you feel comfortable with Google knowing where you go, who you communicate with and your purchasing habits.