Google has revamped its mobile swipe payment system using cloud technology to allow customers fund their digital wallet with any type of credit card. The NFC (Near Field Communications) powered, Google Wallet has been available in the US for more than a year but until now it has worked only for people with Citibank accounts, MasterCard and a certain kind of Sprint phone.
Virtual wallet in the cloud
The big change is that Google Wallet now allows the phones access to credit card data stored in the cloud, which means any credit card numbers used to make a purchase in the Google Play store or to buy something online with Google Checkout. Previously payment information was stored on a secure piece of the chip inside phones, for which it had to get permission from mobile carriers, banks and credit card companies. Using the cloud means there is no need for these difficult negotiations and has the added bonus that the virtual Wallet in the phone can be disabled online if the device is stolen.
Though anyone can use the web-based Google Wallet which works like PayPal the virtual Wallet is still only available on six Sprint or Virgin Mobile phones in the US and the Nexus 7 tablet.
Mobile payments coming to Europe
Google Wallet is still not available outside the US but that could be about to change. Earlier this month Deutsche Telekom Chief Product and Innovation Officer Thomas Kiessling let slip that he has been in talks with Google about bringing the NFC payments system across the Atlantic.
Of course, Google is not the only player in the market and newly crowned billionaire Jack Dorsey has said that he plans to take his Square payment system to international markets. Starbucks who use PayPal’s system to allow customers to pay for coffee with their phones are bringing the system to Canada and the UK and Visa’s PayWave system is in operation for the Olympics.
There also has been talk of a new European payments system called Project Oscar which is a joint venture between Vodafone, Télefonica’s O2 and Everything Everywhere, the merged UK businesses of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom. Mobile payments have been slow to take off in the US so don’t get rid of your regular wallet just yet, but at least we should have the option of paying with our phones before too long.