Using your smartphone as your wallet, and being able to ditch the plastic cards may be getting closer. Google has been showing for some time that it is actively pursuing expanding NFC in many areas, and it looks like they have taken another step in that direction. They are actively recruiting an EMEA head of commerce marketing, and planning on expanding that division. Eric Schmidt said earlier this year that one of Google's strategic initiatives is to support adoption of mobile payments for Android, and they are making progress with the Nexus S 4G out yesterday supporting NFC.
Mobile payments (paying using your cell phone instead of a credit card) are commonplace around the world, especially in Asia, but they have been slow to take off in the US. Google seems to be looking to change that, but it isn't known whether they are planning on partnering with Visa or another payment provider, or going it alone.
Visa has said they will be making an announcement this week concerning mobile payments, so Google is already facing stiff competition. Visa CEO Joseph Saunders has said that a good mobile payment system will have 5 characteristics, "Convenience and simplicity, standardization, interoperability, global accessibility, and security." Quite makes sense to us. Whoever can accomplish that first will likely take the lead in the market.
Google is already working with French point-of-sale device manufacturer, Ingenico to bring NFC-based coupons to Android phones, and has also rolled out NFC stickers in five US cities. These efforts are more based on distributing coupons and checking in, but are using the same technology, and show that Google is deeply committed to NFC and expanding its use.
[via The Next Web]