updated 04:45 pm EDT, Wed August 1, 2012
NFC payment system moves to cloud-based storage
Google Wallet has received some major updates today. The mobile payments platform has opened up to accept all credit and debit cards from American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa, with financial data stored in the cloud instead of on the handset itself. Twenty five national US retailers have partnered with Google for the service, and through a partnership with MasterCard PayPass, mobile payments can be performed at over 200,000 retail locations across the country.
At present, the service is limited to a small number of handsets due to the need for NFC. Currently the Google Nexus 7 tablet, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Viper, LG Optimus, and the HTC EVO 4G are all able to download and use the app (Google Play). An extra security layer has also been added to the app, allowing users to disable Google Wallet from a handset remotely, in the event of the phone being lost or stolen. Banks not currently included in the Google Wallet system can apply to be added at no cost, with the entire integration process taking a few weeks.
There has been a push in recent times towards mobile payments from various parties. Paypal acquired photo-based app firm Card.io, MasterCard and Deutsche Telekom planned to enable smartphone payments in Germany and Poland in the next few months, and retailers such as Starbucks have created their own apps for in-store payments. [via Google Commerce]