Magic Wand Ahead: Meet Google Wallet

Ah, the ubiquitous Google. It’s not just for maps, web, images, videos, news, shopping, mail, analytics, advertising, translations and, well, everything under the sun anymore. Now it’s in your wallet. On second thought, make that, now it IS your wallet.

Yes, Google Wallet is here.  As more and more businesses hop on board, expect to be able to use it at a retailer near you.

Google Wallet is a smart phone app on which you can store virtual versions of your credit and debit cards, so you can use your phone to make purchases and redeem offers.

It works by use of Near Field Communication (NFC). I’ll skip the technical jargon and simply say that NFC lets you wave your phone at a little device at the checkout counter to pay for your stuff.  (Before you get too excited about having your phone cover your expenses, I should clarify that it does so with your money.)

In hopes of preventing innovative criminals from accessing your smart phone and walking away with your personal information, Google has loaded NFC with security features. It works only when your phone is very close to the receiving device. It turns off when the phone’s screen is dark. It requires PIN access.  And the chip self-destructs if someone tries to hack it—yes,really.

As with most new technology, the demand will increase and Google Wallet (and future competitors) will become as common as, well, Google. I can just imagine where this might go…

• You have insufficient funds in your checking account. When you make a purchase, the phone automatically transfers funds from your savings and completes the transaction as you wave it over the transceiver.

• It’s payday. Just as workers used to line up at the time clock to punch in and out, now you line up at the transceiver and your paycheck is loaded onto your phone.

• In restaurants, servers bring a mobile transceiver to your table and you wave your phone to pay.

It may not be a real magic wand, but it sure comes close.



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