Google unveils mobile payments, coupon service

Google Wallet and Google Offers are unveiled today at an event in Manhattan.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg
2 min read
A credit card loaded on a Nexus S phone through Google Wallet. Sarah Tew/CNET

Google today introduced Google Wallet and Google Offers at an event in New York City.

The company says it plans to bring all parts of the retail experience together to make "tomorrow's best shopping experience," said Google Vice President of Commerce for Stephanie Tilenius.

The services will combine coupons and discounts and payments at the time people buy things through their phone.

Together the services will work like this: Coupons for items you buy regularly will pop up on your phone, or an item that the store you're shopping at is out of will pop up on the phone and let you buy that item online. When you go to a store's cashier, you can wave your phone over a terminal, which will charge your card. Meanwhile your loyalty points with that merchant will be added to your phone. Eventually receipts will be delivered to your phone.

The first phone that will be able to do this is the Android-based Nexus S, which has an NFC chip made by NXP inside. It can make payments via MasterCard's PayPass system. The system uses NFC, or near-field communication, technology. NFC is a chip technology that, when placed in two different devices, lets small amounts of data be sent over very short distances between them. This can include data such as credit card information, train ticket info, and a coupon bar code. All future Android phones will contain NFC chips, Google said today.

Google Wallet won't be out until this summer officially, but in the meantime there will be some local trials in San Francisco and New York City before expanding to more cities. The first participating retailers will be Macy's, Subway, Walgreens, Toys "R" Us, Bloomingdale's, Guess, and Noah's Bagels. For the payments service, Google is partnering with Sprint, MasterCard, Citi, and FirstData.

Google Wallet will support multiple cards, Citi and Mastercard, and a prepaid card funded from any credit card. More card brands will be coming, according to Telenius. Google says loading a card on a phone will be more secure than a physical wallet thanks to a smartphone's password and encryption on the phone.

Google also introduced Google Offers, a daily deals service that will be delivered to customers in an e-mail or to a phone. Like the payment system, to redeem these coupons a customer can show the cashier at a store or tap their phone to pay. Google Offers will begin trials in San Francisco and New York this summer.

American Eagle is one of the first retailers that will support Google Offers.

Eventually boarding passes, tickets, and more will come to the Google Wallet.

These are "the first steps," Tilenius stressed. "This vision will take a while to come to fruition."

Last updated at 10:13 a.m. PT.