Mobile Payments - Google Wallet Gets A Mixed Reaction

September 21, 2011
Google Wallet - Mobile Payments

Yesterday, Google announced Google Wallet, a new mobile payment system using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow a consumer to pay by simply swiping their phone over a sensor. This is technology that is poised to possibly replace wallets, but will consumers be chased away by cost and security concerns?

Consumer Reaction

The reactions to Google Wallet by consumers have ranged from elation to suspicion, but mostly gathering around uncertainty.

The idea of loading that stack of credit cards and reward program cards into your phone and simply scanning the phone is appealing to many. But the reality of the current Google Wallet is that only one credit card is currently compatible with the program. That will likely change very soon — this is Google we are talking about, after all. But some wonder if that change will come fast enough.

Secondly, the standard privacy concerns are floating about (as with most things Google releases). The massive amount of data that Google already collects will be substantially bolstered by aggregating buyer behavior through the Google Wallet program. So if that concerns you, you might want to steer clear.

Merchant Reaction

Google Wallet requires the latest type of NFC scanners, so most merchants will need to upgrade their equipment to handle these types of transactions; the extra cost may slow down the rate of adoption, especially in the weak economic climate in which we are currently mired. However, those merchants with enough vision and funds will quickly realize how powerful this data that Google is gathering can be to their business.

Google is pairing Google Wallet with it’s new Groupon-like service called Google Offers. This combination has the potential to become a serious boon to merchants who can learn to leverage both systems. Currently Google Offers works just like Groupon, with a daily or weekly offer made available to a geographic region. But in the future it is likely that Google will make available more targeted offers based on the Google Wallet transactions of a customer. Imagine being able to send a special offer to the phone of a customer who has purchased from you in the past, but hasn’t returned in two weeks. The possibilities of specialized offers are really endless.

My Reaction

As a marketer, I see Google Wallet as a service that can provide unprecedented metrics on client interactions in the future. While still young, this system ushers in a first-time pairing of both transactional data and marketing offers.

It will be interesting to see how fast the NFC systems are adopted by merchants and consumers alike. If you want to be on the cutting edge of payment technology, then upgrading to Google Wallet-capable NFC equipment could be beneficial.

Google Offers is already available in some areas. But for merchants the specialized offers, based on Google Wallet transactions that may come in the future, is the most exciting aspect of the program.

What do you think? Is Google Wallet something that you will try as a consumer or merchant? Leave your comments below.

Image Source: Google

Related Links