Google Wallet heralds
tap-to-pay

Google, Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint collaborate to revolutionize payments

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Mobile payments took a major leap forward in September with the launch of the long- anticipated mobile app, Google Wallet, which could change the way citizens shop forever.

The app launched initially in the US with acceptance at over 124,000 MasterCard PayPass- enabled retailers in the US. Although PayPass is accepted by 311,000 retailers around the world, the app itself is expected to be rolled out in Europe in 2012 and eventually introduced worldwide.

Google Wallet is designed to turn phones into wallets, allowing shoppers to pay for goods and take advantage of offers simply by tapping their phone on a PayPass-enabled terminal.

One potential attraction of the app is the way Google Wallet also lets users redeem downloaded vouchers and money off deals in the same single tap. This feature was possible from launch at any participating Google SingleTap retailer. Non-participating retailers will still be able to scan or type in an offer code direct from a shopper's phone.

A wide variety of vouchers and offers may be bought or saved online and automatically synched to Google Wallet for use in shops.

The app was tested in New York and San Francisco (where PayPass technology operates in taxis), and is the result of a collaboration between Google, Citi, MasterCard (creators of PayPass), First Data and Sprint.

Google Wallet uses Near-Field Communication technology and an app-specific PIN to ensure all transactions are fast, convenient and above all safe.

Additional partners are being sought to expand the reach of Google Wallet, including additional issuing banks, mobile networks, handset manufacturers, payment networks and retailers.

Google is currently in talks with several top retailers including American Eagle Outfitters, Walgreens, RadioShack and Foot Locker as it hopes to extend the app's capabilities still further in new ways.

"Google Wallet allows us to harness the power of mobile technology and bridge the gap between our online and in-store customer interactions," said Martine Reardon, executive vice-president at Macy's. "Macy's is always looking for cutting edge technology that will deliver value and engage our customers in personal ways."