Thanks to the Google’s latest venture, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your wallet again. Today, Google announced that it has partnered with Citi, MasterCard, First Data, and Sprint to launch Google Wallet, an app that uses near field communication to allow users to pay for purchases with a wave (or tap) of their smartphone.
At first, Google Wallet will only be compatible with Sprint’s Nexus 4G S phone, but Google plans to expand to support other devices. Users will be able to store their credit cards (which, for now, includes Citi MasterCard and the Google Prepaid Card), loyalty cards, Google Offers, coupons, and gift cards in the app. When making purchases, the app will automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points. Google plans to make sure that users’ information will be kept secure, with a phone lock, required PIN, and credit card data encryption.
Google Wallet will work wherever MasterCard PayPass is accepted—which includes 300,000 merchants worldwide and 120,000 in the U.S. (although it’s not rolling out everywhere just yet, notes TechCrunch). Retailers including Macy’s, CVS, and Radio Shack have already signed up, and the app will be free to merchants. Google won’t take any revenue from the credit card transactions, and is planning to make money from advertising instead.
The initial trials will start immediately in New York and San Francisco, and will expand nationally in the months ahead. And according to a post on the company blog, storage payment information is only the beginning: “Someday, even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID, and keys could be stored in Google Wallet.”