Google’s new application says goodbye to credit cards and hello to Google wallets. The Google Wallet app, which is not yet available in the UK, is set to replace credit cards replacing them with phones with added extras such as loyalty cards. Currently, the Google Wallet application only works on American mobile carrier Sprint with Google’s Nexus S4G smartphones and can be only downloaded on the Android OS.

So how does it work? Well the Google Nexus S4G has a nifty little NFC chip in it which stands for Near Field Communication. This technology makes life easier and more convenient for consumers around the world by using simple transactions and digital exchanges. It’s a developers dream! Imagine ditching our keys and using our Phones to get into our offices at Createful. It would be a lot of help considering how many keys we have. It has been reported by MarketingWeek  that BMW are involved in an application where you can download a train ticket while using the in-car Internet which then turns the phone into your ticket. This cuts out time-consuming queues and shows that NFC can be used for many other services that can simplify our lives.

There are numerous mobile phones on the market that already implement this technology, for example the Samsung Galaxy S II and Blackberry Bold 9930. However, for me the biggest disappointment was that the new iPhone 4S does not have it built in.  We shouldn’t be waiting too long until we see it in an Apple device, as Apple will have no choice but  to include in a future phone release to carry on competing with their rivals. It’s a very niche market at the moment but we shall be seeing a lot more of NFC in the coming year.

How it works

Google has been testing Google Wallet within New York and San Francisco since May with over 1000 employees of Google and its partners taking part in the venture, including MasterCard and the Macy’s department store. Google has announced that they will launch the product this year, but only in the United States. They expect to release it to the European market in 2012 and I’m hoping the UK will be the next step after its launch in America.  Which looks promising due to Google now working with Visa and Mastercard who are official sponsors of London 2012 Olympic games. I expect they would want to push the launch in time for this event, as this quick user friendly payment system would be a great way to introduce it to the UK market.

But wait! UK already has this system!! Orange are the first network to introduce NFC to the UK, and this Quick Tap contactless payment can be used in high street outlets such as Pret A Manager, EAT, McDonalds and Co-Op, with many more stores signing up. However there is a limit to this service as currently you are limited to £100 credit at any one time and the maximum amount you can spend in one transaction using Quick Tap is just £15. This might be a problem for certain purchase but I am sure this will increase as consumer confidence in it grows.

Orange Quick Tap (UK)

There have been many companies starting to launch mobile wallet services such as O2 and PayPal. In fact PayPal has tried to sue Google for copying their idea and exposing trade secrets after a previous PayPal employee is now working for Google. Osama Bedier was working on negotiations to make PayPal a payment option on Android while in job talks with Google. PayPal has said they have spent three years tying to secure a deal under which it would create an NFC system for Android, only for Google to end the talks. I think you can see why PayPal are upset. My predictions will be that Apple will have the NFC technology built in future iPhones, but the question is when? When they do, I believe they will have a classic Apple approach by using glamorous PR coverage. Yes, it will be fantastic to have our wallets integrated within our mobiles but what do we do if the battery runs out? Spare any change…