Google’s mobile payment system, Google Wallet, is now available to the public – for people who use Sprint Nexus S 4G phones and Citi MasterCards or Visa cards at least. The near-field communication and contact-less payment system was expected to launch this summer.
Google Wallet – along with Google Offers – is built on an open platform that combines multiple credit cards, loyalty programs and offers at the point of sale. Payment is made by swiping your smartphone at checkout. Essentially, Google is turning your phone into your wallet.
The Google Wallet service must be associated with a Google account to begin using it. After agreeing to terms and conditions and entering a PIN, you can start the process of provisioning your cards to your account.
So far the service only works with Nexus S 4G phones on Sprint; people with these phones will receive over-the-air updates Monday and will see a new “Wallet” app. It also only works with Citi MasterCards and Google Prepaid Cards, which can be filled using any other credit card.
Update: Visa has announced that Visa customers can also use Google Wallet.
Eventually Discover and American Express will work with the app as well, Google said Monday.
The system made its debut in May and was tested in select markets. Just last week MasterCard, a launch partner, held another press event in New York City to show off other future-of-payment technologies, including the ability to make purchases by simply waving at your TV.
Shortly after Google revealed Google Wallet earlier this year, PayPal filed a lawsuit against Google and two former PayPal executives for sharing trade secrets. In the suit, PayPal claimed that former PayPal executive, now working at Google, Osama Bedier stole PayPal’s trade secrets and shared them with Google and other companies, and that another present Google employee and former PayPal exec, Stephanie Tilenius, violated her contract when she recruited Bedier.
Since the suit, PayPal told Mashable that it is preparing to release an update to the PayPal Mobile app that would let users make peer-to-peer payments using NFC.
Mobile carriers have also begun working on their own competitor to Google Wallet. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are reportedly investing millions in Isis, their own mobile payment project. So far Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express have signed on to the service. It is expected to roll out sometime in 2012.
Google released the video below in May to promote Google Wallet.
Google released the video below, featuring Seinfeld‘s George Costanza, in August.