Google this morning unveiled plans for a new mobile app, Google Wallet, that will let people use their phones to pay for items at retail outlets — storing virtual versions of credit cards, gift cards and other forms of payment. The app uses the technology known as Near Field Communication, or NFC, allowing people to tap their phones at the register to make a payment.
It will work initially at locations that support MasterCard PayPass system, and grow over time. The app will also incorporate merchant offers and loyalty programs, moving Google further into the highly competitive market for online discounts and coupons.
“When you tap to pay, your phone will also automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you,” the company explains in a post. “Someday, even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet.:
Google Wallet will be part of a coming wave of NFC applications, as more phones incorporate the technology. Microsoft, Apple and other mobile operating system vendors are also expected to support NFC in their mobile platforms.
Google Wallet is in now testing and will initially be compatible with the Nexus S 4G Android phone on Sprint, the company says. Reporting from the Google Wallet unveiling in New York City, TechCrunch says the official rollout will be this summer.
Here’s the official Google Wallet site.