Well today at the New York held event, Google has announce the mobile app Google Wallet. This app will work with NFC chips installed into future phones and cases that will retro-fit current cell phones on the market. The idea behind this is that everyone carries there phone with them at all times, just like a wallet, so why not combine the two, since most people don’t really carry cash with them anymore anyway. Google says:
Because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will do more than a regular wallet ever could. You’ll be able to store your credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and gift cards, but without the bulk. When you tap to pay, your phone will also automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you. Someday, even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet.
So that now Google has thrown their hat into the ring, does it seem too little too late? With Paypal able to do mobile payments with an app (not really with a credit card at a retail store) and countless other rumors and dongles out there already, does Google have it right? Can you have, not only a device that pays for things instead of carrying that cumbersome wallet around, but that also carries your membership cards, tickets, IDs & keys? There are many hurdles here to have to jump, but that could be the wave of the future.
We are already tied to our devices by a unique identifer called an IMEI (or older ESN that changed to MEID) on our selected carriers. This is how we can be billed individually on each or devices. I would assume the same could be done for the NFC chips that are installed to the new phones or the dongles that are attached. With contactless payment already out in the consumer market place and being tested with new devices every month, your wallet may soon someday disappear and be a thing of the past.
All of that information is basically held digitally anyway a these retailers, why not give it to them digitally. This would cut down on losing those stupid key rings, fumbling through your wallet looking for those membership cards and give us a good verified ID carrier instead of just a piece of plastic that is out of date anyway(when was the last time you updated your ID or driver’s license?).
For those of you worried about Big Brother though, this may not be your thing, because this can become a single point of failure for your ID security. With everything being on your phone, once it is lost, you are done for. Of course Apple and HTC give you security options for remote wiping the phone if lost or stolen, but I don’t think it is ubiquitous saturation in the market just yet. Security is the big worry on everyone’s minds right now, with the recent Apple “trackinggate” issue, which is still being covered by the FCC and Senator Al Franken. Google faces a lot of things that may face some future scrutiny, but I love the idea, let’s just wait for the implementation to hit and see how things go.