Google to unveil its own near-field mobile payment system

A Sprint smartphone

Google and Sprint are unveiling a mobile payment processing system ahead of other similar systems. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Google has announced it will unveil its own mobile payment system that will allow people to use their cell phones in lieu of a wallet. Google is launching its own near-field communication technology, which uses a chip mounted in a phone that is read by a sensor and linked to a bank account. Google is the latest company to join in attempting to phase out the ancient technology of the wallet.

Sprint debuting new payment system on Nexus S smartphone

The latest trend in smartphone technology is mobile payment processing. There is already a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in developing and installing ISIS, a proprietary type of near-field communications technology, on smartphones in the next few years. Near-field communication, or NFC, technology works by planting a readable chip in a phone that contains the user’s credit card or bank account information. If a merchant has an NFC reader at the point of purchase, customers need only to tap the phone near the reader to initiate the transaction and have their checking or credit account charged accordingly. Sprint, according to Bloomberg, is unveiling its own NFC system developed in part with Google, and will be available on Sprint phones starting with the Nexus S Android smartphone.

Same product, but from Google

The Google mobile payment system will first be available on the Nexus S, an Android smartphone. The Google payment system should start to become available on a growing number of phones with the Google-based Android platform. Google plans to debut its NFC technology in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. to start with. The Google NFC technology uses hardware and software from VeriFone Systems and ViVOtech to run the feature. Mobile-phone based commerce was estimated at $370 million worldwide last year. Apple is currently working on its own NFC system. ISIS, according to Forbes, hopes to partner with Google, Apple and all banks and credit card companies in the United States, including other NFC system producing firms, in order to ensure uniformity of technology nationwide. NFC technology is rarely used in the United States for transaction purposes, but the technology is a decade old.

Other mobile payment systems on the horizon

There is more than one type of “mobile wallet.” Square, for instance, turns a smartphone into a credit card machine. A user needs only download and install the Square app and plug the credit card reader into the headphone jack. The user then can simply swipe a credit card to receive a payment. Square debuted in 2009 and originally only received and did not spend payments. The new version of the Square app includes a way to pay for goods in participating stores using a mobile phone, according to CNN, by selecting the store in the app when a person goes to pay the clerk. The store clerk simply checks the store’s database for Square-using customers and bills the customers credit card. No chip reading is required.





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