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Google turning mobile phone into a wallet

 Google unveiled a free mobile application on Thursday that turns a smartphone into an electronic wallet and is designed to replace plastic credit cards.

The Internet giant, at a press conference at its New York headquarters with financial partners Citibank, MasterCard and First Data and telecom ally Sprint, said "Google Wallet" is being field tested and will be available this summer.

Google Wallet will initially work with Google's Nexus S 4G smartphone from Sprint, the third-largest US wireless provider, and will eventually be expanded to other phones equipped with near field communication (NFC) technology.

An NFC chip in a phone allows a user who has entered their credit card details to "tap-and-pay" for purchases at a checkout register equipped with the PayPass system from CitiMasterCard.

Customers can also use a Google Prepaid card to pay for purchases, topping up the Google card with any payment card, and take advantage of Google Offers, the Mountain View, California-based company's online discount coupon program.

Google said Google Wallet will be accepted at more than 124,000 merchants in the United States at launch and more than 311,000 around the world.

A video screen displays a new payment service introduced by Google Inc. at an event in New York, U.S., on Thursday. (Bloomberg)
A video screen displays a new payment service introduced by Google Inc. at an event in New York, U.S., on Thursday. (Bloomberg)


Stephanie Tilenius, Google's vice president for commerce and payments, described Google Wallet as the "next generation of mobile commerce."

"We're building an open commerce ecosystem that for the first time will make it possible for you to pay with an NFC wallet and redeem consumer promotions all in one tap, while shopping offline," Tilenius said. "We are looking at expanding internationally, Europe first and then Asia."

Mobile payments are being tested or used in a number of countries already, notably France and Japan, but Google Wallet will be among the first to bring NFC technology to stores in the United States.

NFC technology uses short-range, high frequency wireless to enable the encrypted exchange of information between devices at a short distance.

Three of the largest US wireless carriers -- AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless -- announced in November that they were teaming up to build a national network called "Isis" to make payments by mobile phones.

They said they expect to introduce the service during the next 18 months.

Then-Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said shortly before the Nexus S smartphone hit the market in December that he expects tap-and-pay technology to eventually replace credit cards.

Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin said it remains to be seen, however, whether Google can change the payment behavior of consumers and it will take time and more widespread adoption to find out.

"Relying on an installed base of phones that is today indistinguishable from zero, a single payment system, a single card issuer, and a modest network of merchants capable of accepting these phone-based payments means that the near-term impact will be negligible," Golvin said.

Andrew Eisner, director of community and content at Retrevo, agreed with Golvin that "the big question is how consumers will warm up to NFC."

"So far it looks like consumers are a bit skeptical," Eisner said. "They worry about security and privacy issues."

Google said it has built a number of security systems into Google Wallet including the need for a PIN number and credit card encryption. If lost, the payment system can be disabled with a phone call.

In addition to allowing for mobile payments, Google Wallet lets consumers pay using gift cards and redeem promotions such as discounts or coupons.

"Google Wallet will start with offers, loyalty and gift cards but some day items like receipts, boarding passes and tickets will all be seamlessly synced to your Google Wallet," Google said in a blog post.

Google said the field tests in New York and San Francisco involve a number of retailers including CVS pharmacy, fast food outlet Jack in the Box, sporting goods store Sports Authority and Sunoco gas stations.

Some Coca-Cola vending machines and taxis are also PayPass-enabled.

Other companies which will be offering the tap-and-pay service include American Eagle Outfitters, Bloomingdales, Macy's, RadioShack, Subway and Walgreens.

(AFP)

<한글 기사>

구글, 신용카드-현금 대신하는 스마트폰 시대열다



NFC기술이용 '구글지갑'공개..2014년 2천450억불 시장

구글은 27일 사용자들이 휴대전화를 매장의 단말기 가까이서 흔들면 대금이 결제되는 모바일시스템 앱(응용프로그램)을 공개했다.

구글은 이날 금융 파트너인 씨티은행과 마스터카드, 통신제휴업체 스프린트 등과 공동으로 기자회견을 열고 "구글지갑"으로 명명된 이번 전자결제 플랫폼이 현재 약품 유통체인 'CVS 파마시', 운동용품 전문 '스포츠 오소리티' 등의 매장에서 시험 운영되고 있으며 금년 여름 본격 가동에 들어갈 것이라고 밝혔다.

오는 8월 스프린트의 구글폰 '넥서스S 4G'을 시작으로 점차 다른 안드로이드폰으로 확산될 구글지갑은 샌프란시스코와 뉴욕지역에서는 이보다 빨리 이용될 수 있을 것으로 예상된다.

구글의 이 모바일 결제시스템은 근거리무선통신(NFC) 칩을 담은 휴대전화를 씨티-마스터카드의 '페이패스'시스템이 설치된 결제창구 단말기에 흔들거나 접촉하면 결제가 이뤄지도록 하고 있다.

시장조사기관 주니퍼리서치의 보고서에 따르면 2014년까지 총 3억대의 NFC 단말기가 보급돼 스마트폰 5대 중 1대를 차지할 것으로 예측되고 있다.

구글은 이 시스템에 자사의 '프리페드'카드를 사용할 수 있으며 온라인 할인쿠폰인 '구글 오퍼'도 이용할 수 있다고 전했다.

구글은 이 결제시스템이 시행 초기 미국 전역 12만4천개 이상 매장에서, 전 세계적으로는 31만1천개 업소에서 이용될 수 있다고 덧붙였다.

구글의 스테파니 틸러뉴스 상거래ㆍ결제사업부문 부사장은 구글지갑 시스템이 "상거래의 차세대"라고 표현하면서 "우리는 온라인과 오프라인을 동시에 경험하는 새로운 상행위 시대에 들어서고 있다"고 말했다.

그는 쇼핑과 함께 (전자지갑을) 대기만 하면 한꺼번에 결제는 물론 경품행사에도 참여할 수 있는 개방적 상거래 생태환경을 건설하고 있다고 강조했다.

구글은 이번 전자지갑 도입을 통해 오는 2014년까지 2천450억 달러 규모에 이를 것으로 추산되는 모바일 결제시장의 선두주자로 나서기를 기대하고 있다.

다른 인터넷 기업과 신용카드사, 이동통신업체들도 전자 결제시장에 눈독을 들이는 가운데 아이폰의 애플사도 올해 여름 구글지갑과 비슷한 전자결제 시스템을 발표할 것으로 예상된다.

(연합)

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