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How does Google’s entry change mcommerce as you know it?

May 27, 2011

Google's new mobile wallet

NEW YORK – Google is marking its territory in the mobile commerce space by partnering with Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint to unveil a new mobile wallet that not only lets consumers store all of their cards on one single device, but pay for goods and services via one tap.

During a press event in Google’s offices, executives from the company – as well as from Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint – discussed how Google Wallet and Google Offers will change the mobile commerce ecosystem. The service is launching in New York and San Francisco, with plans for a nationwide rollout.

“We are about to embark on a new era of commerce,” said Stephanie Tilenius, vice president of commerce at Google, New York. “We believe that 2011 will be the year of mobile local commerce.

“Just tap, pay and save,” she said. “We are kicking off a field test for Google Wallet today and we are officially releasing the product this summer.

“It can store many deals and loyalty cards without the bulk.”

In addition to the initial partners, Google is also working with merchants such as Macy’s, American Eagle Outfitters, Walgreens, Subway and The Container Store on the initiative.

How it works
Google Wallet will be compatible with Nexus S 4G by Google, which is available on Sprint. Sprint is looking at extending the service to other manufacturers and devices.

Consumers will be able to store their credit and loyalty cards within their Google Wallet.

According to Ms. Tilenius, the mobile wallet initially supports Mastercard credit cards from Citi.

Additionally, consumers can get a Google prepaid card, which can be funded from their existing credit cards.

In addition to Google Wallet, the company’s other service, Google Offers will be similar to Groupon or LivingSocial and target specific offers, coupons and discounts to consumers.

“Google Wallet and Google Offers will help create a great shopping experience to shoppers,” Ms. Tilenius said. “They will help merchants bring stronger relationships.

“We are really excited about what’s around the corner,” she said.

Mcommerce frontier
According to Osama Beadier, vice president of payments at Google, New York, the company’s new mobile services include are a big opportunity for both consumers and merchants.

To set up an account, consumers put in a PIN number – without it they cannot pay or access any other information within the wallet.

Once the PIN is entered, they can add a credit card and fill out a form.

The information entered is then sent to the consumer’s bank where it verifies the information along with the info that is stored in the consumer’s records.

“It will change the way that credit cards are issued in the future,” Mr. Beadier said. “So, onece installed, that card is now available in the wallet and below that card I can choose to activate or deactivate the card.

“I can click on the card and I get a menu where I can add funds from any credit card and I can add funds to the Google prepaid card,” he said. “It also brings us to this multiple wallet.

“We’ve enabled multiple cards in a single secure element and it gives us the ability to offer consumers choices.”

Mr. Beadier extended an open invitation to all to participate in Google’s new services.

“This can get a lot better,” Mr. Beadier said. “We want to invite banks, carriers, merchants and POS system providers to help bring about this richer experience.

“Help us usher in better experiences,” he said. “Google Wallet is built on top of this open platform – open is who we are.

“Open systems drive competition, and most importantly, exponential growth.”

Citi taps mobile wallet
Paul Galant, chief executive officer of global enterprise payments business unit at Citi, New York, said that Google Wallet marks an important milestone in digital and mobile banking.

“We’re proud to be the first bank to lead the commercialization of NFC payments in the U.S.,” Mr. Galant said. “Google wallet provides Citi customers with a dynamic new channel and we’re committing to leveraging powerful tousle and tangibly better rewards for our customers.

“With Google Wallet, we’re looking to help improve and simplify the everyday lives of consumers and help them better manage their money,” he said.

“We’re really just at the starting point of mobile payment capabilities, but there can be no doubt that today’s announcement can be looked at as the inflection point of how mobile payments has evolved.” 

MasterCard evolutions
Ed McLauglin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard, New York, said that Google Wallet will change the way that consumers interact with their smartphones and it will change their behavior.

“It’s really all working together and we can transform the shopping experience,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “We see the Google Wallet as an incredible example of combining the wallet with the speed and intelligence of Masterard.

“Once consumers experience the experience of tapping, they never go back and that’s what we’re looking to enable,” he said.

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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