American consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to make purchases in person and online, and paying for them online via credit card. Soon they’ll be able to use their phones and tap-to-pay at thousands of bricks-and-mortar retailers such as Macy’s, Footlocker and Subway.
A recent mobile commerce survey by L.E.K. Consulting found that 39 percent of smartphone users make purchases with their handheld devices at least once a month, excluding music and video downloads. Broadly, two-thirds of smartphone or tablet owners today have used their devices to make purchases and 80 percent have used them to assist in purchasing decisions during the last year.
Yesterday, Sprint rolled out Google Wallet, an app that will enable consumers to transform their phones into their wallets and make purchases with a simple tap. The free Android app will be available to users of the carriers Nexus S 4G customers. Sprint is the first carrier and the Nexus S 4G is the first to receive the new software that puts the phones near-field communications, or NFC, chip to work.
Consumers will be able to make fast and secure payments by waving their phone in front of an NFC payment terminal.
Google Wallet is designed to enable safe, secure payments. It requires users to set up a Google Wallet PIN that must be entered before making a purchase to prevent unauthorized access and payments.
Initially, Google Wallet will support Citi MasterCard credit cards and the Google prepaid MasterCard. Google plans to support additional cards and yesterday signed a licensing deal that sets the stage for Visa-issuing banks worldwide to enable their account holders to add their credit, debit and prepaid accounts to Google Wallet.
"Shipping Google Wallet to Sprint is a crucial first step in creating a new way for people to use their phones to make shopping faster and easier," said Osama Bedier, Google's payments vice president. "The world is on the brink of the next big shift in payments, and today's announcement demonstrates that we're making real progress in attaining the vision we share with our partners for a new and innovative mobile payments platform. We believe this is just the beginning of a transformation that's soon to come."
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