Google Wallet lets you pay for stuff with your phone, but US only for now

Google's new NFC payment service, Google Wallet, lets you nab bargains and pay for stuff in shops using your mobile. It launches alongside Google Offers.

Google Wallet is a new service from the search giant that uses near-field communication (NFC) tech to let you buy stuff by swiping your mobile phone at the till when you shop.

Wallet is expected to launch this summer, and will be coupled with a sister service called Google Offers, which lets you make savings when you go shopping by downloading coupons.

Google Offers will show up in Google searches. The offers themselves look like coupons, and feature a barcode. Open up Wallet from your smart phone and you can open those coupons from inside the app, ready to be flashed at cashiers when you go out shopping. We think the Offers bit will work in a similar way to Facebook Deals .

To use Google Wallet, you'll need a phone with an NFC chip inside. To start with it'll be available only on the Nexus S 4G on Sprint (that's a US-only phone) but Google's going to add it to more phones soon.

Security is obviously a major issue. Google Wallet phones will use the same security chip as the Nexus S smart phone -- and impressively that chip will self-destruct if the phone is tampered with.

When you swipe your phone, your mobile communicates with the bank to authenticate the money transfer. Reassuringly, NFC is turned off while the phone is locked, so opportunistic fiends won't be able to swipe your money while your phone's in your pocket. 

Google's currently partnering with Citibank, MasterCard, FirstData and Sprint to deliver the service, but the bad news is it's only being trialled in the US -- San Francisco, Portland and New York will be getting the cool new service this summer. 

If it takes off we'd expect it to head here, but we're still smarting from missing out on Google Music and Google Movies here in dear old Blighty.

What do you think? Would you use Google Wallet? Have your say in the comments, or on our Facebook wall

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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