Google officially launched its Google Wallet service on Monday with Citi, MasterCard, Sprint and First Data on Monday. (It’s rumored that Visa, Discover and American Express will soon be added to that list.) Google began delivering its payment app to Sprint Nexus S 4G users and has already announced that it will add a $10 free bonus to anyone who sets up Google Wallet before the end of the year.
Google Wallet allows consumers to pay directly from their smartphone with a Citi MasterCard credit card or a Google Prepaid Card, which can be loaded using any existing credit card. The service works through the ‘Wallet’ app, and near field communication technology (NFC), which stores user credit card information, allowing consumers to simply tap their phone on wireless readers like MasterCard’s Paypass to complete purchases.
Competition is already increasing for a piece of the mobile commerce market. A market which Juniper Research estimates will grow to $670 billion worldwide by 2015. Last week, PayPal unveiled its new payment service, which seeks to improve the way we spend, by giving customers and merchants more payment and marketing options. “We’re not just shoving a credit card on a phone,” explains PayPal President Scott Thompson, “PayPal is re-imagining money and making it work better for merchants and consumers – whatever device you’re on, wherever you are in the world, and however you prefer to pay (whether that’s cash, credit, or installments).” Last month Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile USA announced their joint investment of more than $100 million to develop a mobile payment system, called Isis. Other technology companies, such as Square and Venmo, have also thrown their hats into the mobile payment race.
Unlike Google, not all competitors are using NFC technology, and it’s still unclear whether NFC will become the dominant technology. As Thomas Ciszek, Manager at The Search Agency, explains, “Google Wallet sits amid a field of new digital payment systems and will depend on widespread adoption of near-field communications (NFC) technology to become a habitual form of digital payment.”
Google Wallet signals not only a new era of mobile commerce, but also exciting new opportunities for mobile search marketers. As Ciszek explains, “Google Wallet will not base revenue on a transaction level like most mobile payment systems but will rely on merchants advertising with Google (e.g. AdWords and Offers) and nothing short of marketing miracles will emerge. I expect that we’ll see social local coupon integrations (with Google Places), mobile video advertising, ubiquitous QR codes, and an expected market exceeding $1 trillion in mobile payment by 2014.”
Will you be a Google Wallet early adopter?