September 29, 2011 | by Charles West
It’s no secret that Google Wallet has been hyped up since the beginning of the year, to then only be amplified with the release of the Nexus S 4G. Well, I am here to tell you Google Wallet is worth every bit of the hype its garnished so far. I’m going to try my best to illustrate my experience with the mobile payment service and layout what the future of check-out payments should be — so hold on for the ride!
Early this morning I woke up to a nice treat, which was two firmware updates. These updates include the Google Shopper and Google Wallet app, which first started rolling out to all Nexus S 4G devices on Sept. 19. I must admit, when I purchased the Nexus S 4G on Saturday (after I moved my line to Sprint from T-Mobile), putting use to the NFC chip was one of my top priorities — so when the update finally came it was time to get it popping as soon as possible.
Once I completed all the registering requirements, I was then prompted to the screen where I had a choice of adding a Citi MasterCard, Google prepaid card (which is also MasterCard), or a gift card. I know, the lack in card choices is the only part that blows, but this is soon to change with Visa’s recent endorsement of the mobile payment service. Anyways, I selected to use the Google prepaid card, which once activated adds an extra $10 for free (yes, you read right).
With my free money, I went to my local 7-Eleven where the store has the required NFC readers and used Google’s money for gas (prices are real high up here). Before I used the magic that is Google Wallet, I happened to have a white guy probably in his early to mid 30′s waiting behind me. When the cashier punched in the price and set the transaction for credit, I then hovered my phone over the reader and [beep] the payment was sent — it was that easy! To say the reaction I got from the man behind me was priceless is an understatement.
After he saw what happened, he asked me “Hey, did you use your phone to pay for that?” I then proceeded to play it cool by just smiling first, then winking my eye giving him the thumbs up, he then added “That is pimp!” I felt like I a was on a TV show — I wish I could have captured the scene on YouTube for all you guys to see.
I guess the point is, no one really knows how Google Wallet will be ultimately perceived once it reaches the masses (the rest of the Android ecosystem of NFC enabled handsets). In fact, we don’t even know if Wallet will beat out that other NFC payment option. That said, I believe that it can be the future of how people checkout of stores — if handled correctly. My experience was a smooth and quick transaction that had me in and out, so imagine if more stores incorporate NFC readers – you’d be “pimp” too.
Loyalty cards and banking information is stored securely in Google Wallet, and both set-up and use were simple. I can see my future being one without carrying credit cards, but just a drivers license instead. Does a future like this intrigue you? While you mull that question over, watch the video on how Google Wallet works below.