Google finally launched its Google Wallet mobile payment application on Sprint Nexus S 4G smartphones today.
Google first announced the Google Wallet application this past spring. It utilizes near-field communications (NFC) technology to send very short-range signals to nearby NFC tags to complete payments. Users are now able to use their smartphones for payment at any store's credit card processor.
At the moment, the application will only be available to use on the Sprint network with the Nexus S 4G mobile device. Google has plans to release the app to other Android-based devices and other wireless networks in the near future.
Google Wallet lets mobile users pay for merchandise using either a Citi MasterCard or a Google Prepaid Card that Google says "can be funded with any of your existing plastic credit cards." Google is gifting its users a $10 bonus if they set up their own Google Prepaid Card by the end of the year. Google said that it had lined up 15 big-name merchants that have embedded Google Wallet NFC capabilities onto their stores' credit card processors, including RadioShack, American Eagle Outfitters, Subway, Macy's, Foot Locker and Walgreens.
Users won't have to worry about the security of their financial history or information with Google Wallet. Google is protecting the app's users in three different ways: entering a simple PIN number before every transaction, utilizing the Secure Element technology to store encrypted credit card data apart from smartphone data and using MasterCard's PayPass technology.
Sprint’s vice president of product Fared Adib stated, “Sprint is thrilled to be the first U.S. carrier to offer Google Wallet. Nexus S 4G is the first to receive new versions of Android software, and today's upgrade puts the near-field communications, or NFC, chip in the phone to work so customers can have a secure virtual wallet on their phone. NFC capabilities on smartphones open the door to a new level of convenience and security."
Users of the app seem to like the program already. Twitter user @wrifster said, "Liking Google Wallet reviews. Needs receipts to be passed back to phone, never lose a receipt ever again."