Google Unveils eWallet

Melanie Gross
May 27, 2011
Updated • Dec 1, 2012

Google officially launched its new mobile service, eWallet on Thursday 26th May at a ceremony held in New York with its partners, the main one of which was MasterCard. This system enables users to turn their mobile phones into smart credit cards. Now you can make credit card
transactions by just swiping their hand held mobile phones in front of a sensor. Although this product has more scope in the US, it is still limited as it can be done with a single mobile handset, registered with a single credit card and can be used at selected partner retailers for the time being.

At the event held in New York, Google executives also demonstrated their newly invented technology and made transactions with it using a Google Nexus smart phone. They also introduced the e-coupons and executives were hopeful that one day you would be able to stop carrying cards altogether and carry everything from your driver’s license to your insurance card on your smartphone.
The Smartphones that can be used as eWallet are equipped with NFC technology, which is based on NXP PN65 chip from NXP Semiconductors.

Google’s representatives claimed that eWallet is completely secure and that there is an exceedingly small chance that your credit card information can be compromised. The NFC chip can only be turned on when the consumers wants it to be. This means that hackers won’t be able to sniff the personal information associated with your eWallet.

Google is partnering with CitiBank, Mastercard, Subway, Macy’s, American Eagle and Sprint for their new NFC Technology. Google also called upon other big guns in the industry to partner with them in order to provide this service to a wider array of consumers.

Trials of Google eWallet began Thursday in New York and San Francisco initially, but according to sources they will be expanded to other cities soon.

Mark Beccue, senior analyst at ABI Research, said that the groundbreaking part of this announcement is that Google's committed to moving NFC forward, but there's no single NFC standard yet.

Initially, it works on Samsung Nexus phones with Android OS and can only be used with a MasterCard credit card. Some sources claim that Google is trying to get other Credit Card companies to come on board as well, to extend the services and also as an effort to serve a larger consumer base.

Google eWallet is compatible with MasterCard PayPass as well, which is widely accepted throughout the world. To be a part of Google’s venture, the retailer must have a MasterCard PayPass hand held device as well, and there are about 120,000 which retailers have it in US.
To pay their bills, the Google eWallet users would just have to tap their phone when the cashier asks for payment. For any purchase above $100, you will have to enter a confirmation code which would be sent to you via text message or email. The reason for this security check is to prevent unauthorized usage of your eWallet in case the original owner loses it.

On Thursday, Google also announced Google Offers, e-coupons for shopping. eWallet is expected to enter into full fledge service by 2013.

What do you think of this newest technology? Is it just a natural extension of the smart phone, or is it an opportunity for more and more invasion of our privacy from the big names?


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  1. cecil said on May 30, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    what if my phone stops functioning.

  2. milithruldur said on May 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    “There is nothing like the way of the Old Ways.” as the saying goes.

    I think each of us have varying levels of preference on how far to go “mainstream” certain aspects of our lives we wish to be. And we’ll each have different reasons for doing so.


  3. Jack said on May 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    @Martin… (next to people who pay with their debit card and those who always look in their wallet to get rid of their coins when paying…)

    Yep – that definitely sounds like me!

    One of the problems of spending a lifetime standing in queues behind fumbling old farts is that – one day – we turn around to see impatient people behind us, and realise that the old fart is us!

    Never mind – at least I still say please and thank you…

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 27, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      I won’t. I always pay with bank notes. Not only because it is faster, but also because you cannot be tracked.

  4. Jack said on May 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I meant to add, there…

    “Google” and “security” in the same sentence? An oxymoron surely?

  5. Jack said on May 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    “Absolutely secure, sir! Guaranteed!” How often have we heard that – usually from pre-pubescent bank managers and outsourced overseas customer support agencies?

    In any case – it sounds a hell of a lot of fuss and bother just to save us reaching for our debit/credit cards. I think I’ll pass – permanently. Though I dare say there’ll be millions signing on simply because it’s ‘cool’.

    @Paul(us) – how long? My guess is under a month for the first hack, and 6 months for the banks to admit it can happen.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      My first though was that it will another thing that keeps me waiting longer in line, next to people who pay with their debit card and those who always look in their wallet to get rid of their coins when paying.

  6. Paul(us) said on May 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Melanie, Is it possible to make a bet with your of how long it will take before the program is hacked?

  7. Martin Brinkmann said on May 27, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Completely secure, how often have I heard that before?

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