Search giant Google released its previously announced Google Wallet application which will allow users to pay for purchases with a mere swipe of a cellphone. Before users head to the mall, however, there are some limitations that should be noted.
For now, the only phone that works with Google Wallet is the Sprint Nexus S 4G, and the only credit cards anyone with that specific phone can store for use are a prepaid Google card or a Citi MasterCard. The application's release was considered a soft launch to help the company work out any bugs that may accompany the technology.
The limited usage of the application will change in the coming year. As new smartphones equipped with near-field communication (NFC) compatibility are released, more users will be brought online. Also, Google revealed shortly after it released the app that Visa, American Express and Discover have all signed agreements to have their account holders included in future releases of the application, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Mobile payments using cell phones and NFC are slated to become increasingly accepted, but the L.A. Times and bloggers such as James Kendrick from ZDNet note that despite the hundreds of thousands of locations of NFC terminals like PayPass that already exist, many are located at fast-food chains and gas stations. The number of terminals also appears to include multiple devices at one location, making the availability slightly less than reported.
For now, Google encourages Sprint Nexus users to accept the free application download and even offers a $10 Google Prepaid card to those people who actually use their phone to make a mobile payment. Google could face some pretty heavy competition, even for Android phone users, as AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have already joined forces to launch a mobile payment service called Isis, and all major credit card issuers have already signed up for that venture.