The first version of Google Wallet has been released. This app allows users to pay for purchases with their Android smartphone.
It uses NFC (Near Field Communications) to make transactions, so naturally it will only work on devices with NFC and at stores with the right equipment. Currently, the only Android handset with this very short-range (4 inches or less) wireless technology is the Samsung Nexus S, and todays launch is only for Sprint’s version of this smartphone.
Google is working with Citi, MasterCard, Visa, American Express Discover and First Data on this app. The intent is to allow users to “tap, pay and save” — making a payment will automatically redeem any special offers and earn loyalty points. The long-term goal is that things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys will also be stored in Google Wallet.
Initially, this app will support both Citi MasterCard and a Google Prepaid Card. From the outset, consumers will be able to tap their phone to pay wherever MasterCard PayPass is accepted.
Google put together a video to demonstrate the features of this new app.