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Google kicks off mobile payments

09-21-2011 09:42 BJT

BEIJING, Sept. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- In a step to make the credit card obsolete, Google Inc. has enlisted Visa to push mobile payments with the "Google Wallet" project allowing Visa account-holders to pay for purchases with their smartphones.

In a blog post Monday, Google said it has released its Google Wallet application to carrier partner Sprint Nextel Corp. and is rolling out the tool via an "over-the-air update" to a Sprint phone model that runs on Google's Android software.

The Google Wallet, which was already supported by Citigroup, MasterCard, Sprint Nextel Corp and First Data, also got a boost by enlisting Visa, the world's largest credit card company.

On Monday, Google and Visa said the Internet search leader had received a worldwide license to Visa's "paywave" -- similar to Mastercard's PayPass -- enabling its installation on Android smartphones.

"This agreement extends Google Wallet to Visa account holders worldwide," said Stephanie Tilenius, Google's vice president of Commerce and Payments.

The deal will allow banks that issue Visa-branded cards to enable their customers to add their cards to the service, though the banks must still sign separate agreements with Google, said John Partridge, president of Visa.

Google had originally announced Google Wallet in May. The service enables customers to link their credit or debit bank accounts to Android phones with the Google Wallet app installed. Then the users can tap their phones at specially installed terminals at checkout to effect a payment.

The application relies on a chip technology called near-field communication, or NFC, that allows a person to wave the phone in front of a special point of sale terminal to make a purchase.

Smartphones and the payment terminals must be equipped with the NFC technology in order for the system to work.

Google is one of a number of companies seeking inroads in a payment industry that's transforming as new technologies are introduced.

EBay Inc. (EBAY), for example, is undertaking an ambitious effort to expand its PayPal payments service.

Mobile phone carriers are making their own moves. Last year, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. (T) and T-Mobile USA formed a mobile payments venture called Isis.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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