Google is set to reveal its digital wallet feature in New York on May 26. The digital wallet will allow users to pay for items through their Android phones. According to a Reuters report, the service will initially be available on phones from Sprint Nextel Corp.
The mobile payment system from Google will be powered by Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and will help users reduce dependence on credit cards for shopping. The technology enables mobile phones to transmit data to other devices from a distance of about four inches.
It allows users to pay for retail items by holding their phones close to a specialised reader at the payment counters of stores, theatres and other such commercial outlets.
Google will work with Mastercard and Citigroup to develop the system. The mobile payment system was first conceptualised about 10 years ago, and it is yet to become as commonplace as credit or debit cards are.
According to a Gartner Research Report, mobile payment systems using NFC are likely to reach $245 billion by 2014. As is typical of Google, the database generated by such payments is expected to be shared with retail businesses for generating targeted advertisements.
In India, the financial giant Citigroup had already conducted a field trial of the service way back in 2009 in partnership with Nokia, Mastercard, Vodafone and Vivotech in Bengaluru. Known as Tip and Pay, the pilot programme allowed users to make payments at department stores, restaurants and fast food chains, book stores, food courts and multiplexes.
Google’s effort, if successful, has the potential of making its way to India too considering Citigroup’s programme. Google in any case has a global footprint so its presence in India is a likely possibility.