Print 41 comment(s) - last by mars3d4f.. on May 31 at 10:45 PM

Tap to pay with Citi MasterCard or the Google Prepaid Card.
The NFC mobile payments service is still undergoing field testing, but will be available soon

Google announced its new near-field communications (NFC) mobile payment system, "Google Wallet," this afternoon in New York. 

NFC technology is a short-range wireless technology that allows mobile users to pay for everyday purchases at a register using their cell phones. This new technology, which eliminates the need for cash or credit cards, works by tapping the mobile device at a register. An NFC-enabled mobile device has a NFC chip that contains the users financial account information, and when the user taps the device, the chip interacts with the register and allows for payment.

Back in March of this year, Google decided to hop on the NFC mobile payment bandwagon as well. It announced that it was testing a mobile payment service in San Francisco and New York stores using special cash register systems designed by VeriFone Systems Inc. Google estimated that its mobile payments service would take about four months to complete.  

But only a little over two months later, Google has announced its NFC mobile payments service, "Google Wallet," and gave a demonstration of the new app today. 

Google has partnered with Sprint, Citi, MasterCard and First Data to introduce its new mobile wallet. The system will support Citi MasterCard and a Google Prepaid Card at first, which can be funded by most payment cards, and from there on out, users can use their mobile device to pay for purchases wherever MasterCard PayPass is accepted. 

Google Wallet allows users to store credit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and offers. When the device is used to make a purchase, the app automatically redeems offers and earns loyalty points for the user. Google Wallet will also sync a user’s Google Offers, which can be redeemed at participating SingleTap merchants via NFC or by presenting a barcode at checkout. 

"Google Wallet is a key part of our ongoing effort to improve shopping for both businesses and consumers," said The Official Google Blog. "It's aimed at making it easier for you to pay for and save on the goods you want, while giving merchants more ways to offer coupons and loyalty programs to customers, as well as bridging the gap between online and offline commerce."

Google Wallet will initially be compatible only with Sprint's Nexus S 4G by Google. But Google plans to apply compatibility to other phones in the future. 

Google Wallet is still undergoing field testing at the moment, but will be released soon, according to The Official Google Blog.

Many tech companies have incorporated NFC technology into their mobile devices, and are now negotiating deals with credit card companies to allow users to utilize the new technology to its maximum potential. For instance, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA joined forces with Discover Financial Services' national payment network to form Isis. Isis is also looking to embrace other credit card giants like Visa and MasterCard

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Not excited
By Ammohunt on 5/26/2011 1:54:17 PM , Rating: 5
Am i the only one not thrilled about using my cell phone as payment device with a direct line into my checking account? Or am i just old fashioned and cynical?

RE: Not excited
By Pessimism on 5/26/2011 2:14:45 PM , Rating: 2
It will have to be PIN/password protected, making it no less secure than a debit card. It is more about device convergence than anything else. With the PIN/password verification done server side, a stolen handset is useless to a would-be theif.

The real danger is people picking ridiculously easy to guess PINs that can be guessed within the number of tries allowed before the bank locks the account, like "password" or the user's birthday. This danger exists in any password protected system but again is minimized by a strict 3 try lockout policy.

RE: Not excited
By GulWestfale on 5/26/2011 2:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
i would like this better from a security standpoint if a user were able to locate a stolen/lost handset and remotely disable it or remotely trigger an alarm. this is possible using he GPS that a lot of phones already come with, maybe this should be made a mandatory part of the payment system?

RE: Not excited
By Belegost on 5/26/2011 5:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
My phone has that ability.

RE: Not excited
By Azethoth on 5/27/2011 7:53:02 AM , Rating: 2
Right now anyone can test drive something similar with smartphone + Starbucks app.

You hook up a prepaid Starbucks card to the app and then you can pay by having a 2D bar code on its screen get scanned in. It is fast and you can see your balance before and then updated a few seconds after the transaction.

It is fast, convenient, and more secure than a credit card in my opinion because you can see your balance each transaction. Bogus charges become obvious the next time you pay instead of 1-2 months later _IF_ you notice them on your statement.

There is also a benefit in terms of being more aware of money being spent as you can see balances changing in real time.

RE: Not excited
By MozeeToby on 5/26/2011 5:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
There are free apps available that do all of those things for at minimum Android and iPhone. I can't imagine there aren't similar apps available for other phone OSes.

RE: Not excited
By damianrobertjones on 5/27/2011 7:29:07 AM , Rating: 2
Already on WP7 without an additional app.

RE: Not excited
By leexgx on 5/30/2011 3:07:09 PM , Rating: 2
some phone makers have made there own services that have remote lock and find and wipe (HTC not perfect yet thought, samsung has but not tested)

RE: Not excited
By mondo1234 on 5/27/2011 10:52:00 AM , Rating: 2
It would be best if the phone would have biometric security.

RE: Not excited
By FITCamaro on 5/26/2011 2:52:48 PM , Rating: 4
Mine is highly complex which is why I also use it to secure my air shield.

RE: Not excited
By nafhan on 5/26/2011 2:59:17 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I can tell this will probably be more secure than having your debit card in your wallet, which is already much more secure than carrying around a checkbook.

RE: Not excited
By Da W on 5/26/11, Rating: 0
RE: Not excited
By nafhan on 5/26/2011 4:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
I think the validity of your statement is going to be location and situation dependent. A pickpocket - for example - could potentially end up with the contents of both pockets without you even knowing...

RE: Not excited
By MrBlastman on 5/27/2011 1:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
If he doesn't though... He might have a new pocket in... himself. ;)

RE: Not excited
By Gungel on 5/26/11, Rating: 0
RE: Not excited
By quiksilvr on 5/26/2011 9:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Not excited
By Fritzr on 5/26/2011 9:54:34 PM , Rating: 1
Lets hope that it is more secure than GMail and other secure Google products.

I wonder if they will force this new Google Wallet to share the Google account password currently shared by Googles other highly secure cloud services :)

This practice is one of the reasons I use Yahoo! Mail and avoid everything else Yahoo! offers except messenger. Same with Google. If I find a service at Google I really want, then I will avoid anything else Google forces me to share the password with.

Very bad security practice forcing users to use a single shared password across every service they offer.

RE: Not excited
By quiksilvr on 5/26/2011 11:25:10 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that makes it easier for the end user. Furthermore, since all these services rely on the same security measures and servers provided by Google, it makes sense to integrate that all of that together. In the end, it's all essentially GMail.

And since when was GMail not secure?

RE: Not excited
By nafhan on 5/27/2011 4:44:11 AM , Rating: 2
Gmail (or rather Google accounts login) can be configured to work with two factor authentication (password + token). Right off the bat that makes it more secure than other web mail providers I know of. Once two factor authentication is enabled, you authorize other Google services using random one time passwords or the two factor authentication.

Don't complain about Google's weak security if you're choosing not to make use of the more secure methods they offer for free.

RE: Not excited
By damianrobertjones on 5/27/2011 7:29:42 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Not excited
By MozeeToby on 5/26/2011 6:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
If this system is developed in at all a sane way it should be more secure than anything available today, including cash.

Must be disable-able: I don't want someone to build a scanner and be able to skim my account information from 3 ft away the way you can with RFID enabled cards. At a minimum it shouldn't be transmitting at all times (like passive RFID tags effectively do) but ideally the user should be able to explicitly enable and disable the system.

Must use a two factor identification: The details the chip transmits should be encrypted using a pseudo-random key that is generated every 60s, the store sends the encrypted information (which no the key because they run the same pseudo-random number generator with the same seed that the phone has) to the payment servers along with the amount to be charged and the servers respond back with only an 'accept' or 'deny'. This would eliminate one middle man completely from the data security picture as stores would no longer have access to your account details, decreasing the attack space from dozens or hundreds (every store you use your card at) to one (the payment servers).

Must be password protected on the phone: For all the obvious reasons, but it should be noted that more work should be put into the password protection than is put into the current systems. There have been studies that show that 90% of 'swipe' type passwords can be guessed by looking at smudges on the screen, that is simply not acceptable for financial transactions.

Must be remote wipe-able: Using the encryption system detailed above would mean that all that you would have to delete would be the seed for the pseudo-random number generator and the information would be inaccessible. When/if you get the phone back, you can log into the payment server and request a new seed, enter it in the phone and be good to go without even having to reenter your financial information.(which no the key because they run the same pseudo-random number generator with the same seed that the phone has).

RE: Not excited
By bodar on 5/26/2011 6:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
Good criteria. FYI, the NFC range is something like 4 cm.

RE: Not excited
By futrtrubl on 5/26/2011 9:12:01 PM , Rating: 2
People seem to be looking at this like it's new technology. It's been implemented in Japan already for such a long time that they have had more than enough time to iron out the kinks and plug the holes.

RE: Not excited
By Fritzr on 5/26/2011 9:46:27 PM , Rating: 2
We're not talking about DoComo or the other Japanese companies. This article is discussing the world leader in releasing insecure mass market 'secure' applications.

When it has been out for a few years after Google has announced that it is finished with post-Beta Beta testing, then I might consider it. I would also consider it if this was released to the international market by DoComo or one of the other major companies with a proven system.

For now I will keep the plastic card in my pocket along with the phone, as it is more widely accepted today.

RE: Not excited
By YashBudini on 5/26/2011 11:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
Am i the only one not thrilled about using my cell phone as payment device with a direct line into my checking account?

No, but you are the first to voice reasonable concerns.

RE: Not excited
By Dr of crap on 5/27/2011 8:30:31 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong, he's old.

Probably writes checks still!

RE: Not excited
By mars3d4f on 5/31/2011 10:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
I'm with you. I would always have a couple of twenty-bills under my belt even with my credit cards or cell phone.

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