Are you ready to tap and pay? Google Wallet has officially launched on Sprint with the Nexus S 4G, enabling users to make purchases via NFC technology with that Android smartphone. The Google Wallet app will be made available via an over-the-air update to owners of the device.
For now, Google Wallet only supports Citi MasterCard credit cards and the Google Prepaid Card, which can be funded using any existing credit card. But Google is looking to branch out much more. The company has licensed NFC specifications from Amercian Express, Discover, and Visa. This doesn't mean that you can use those cards with Google Wallet yet, but they "could be added to future versions" of the app.
In the meantime, Google is sweeting the Google Wallet deal by adding a $10 free bonus to the bundled Google Prepaid Card inside the app. Read on for all the details.
Where can you use Google Wallet? At any MasterCard PayPass location, which you can find using the PayPass Locator app. It will help you locate businesses that let you tap and pay near you or a specified location. Google says that you can tap and pay at hundreds of thousands of locations with the Nexus S 4G, which currently costs only $29 for new Sprint subscribers. Google says other NFC-equipped phones are on the way.
Google Wallet isn't just a method of payment. It's also a digital locker for Loyalty Cards and Google Offers that you can redeem.
The Google Wallet service is launching a little later than some expected, but that's because Google says it's been working with partners to improve the back-end performance infrastructure. Google has also enhanced the interface in a few key ways, improving both the Card Carousel and App Tap & Pay instructions. Google Wallet also now includes a helpful tutorial.
To see how well this app works in the real world, check out our Google Wallet hands-on.