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Google Wallet rumoured for UK

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Mobile payments in shops

It has been reported that mobile payment system Google Wallet may launch in the UK in early 2012, using the Olympic Games in London as a testing ground.

French daily financial newspaper Les Echos has stated that Google is ‘in talks’ with French manufacturer Ingenico and several banks and distributors about bringing the service to Europe, following its US release in September 2011.

Google Wallet uses the technology of near field communication (NFC) to allow users to make payments in shops via their mobile phones, drawing from credit card and store card accounts. It is also possible to redeem gift cards and sales discounts.

Sales terminals equipped with Mastercard PayPass or Visa Paywave features can accept Google Wallet payments, while phones need to be NFC-capable. At the application’s original demonstration in May 2011, Google stated its intention to make sure it can be used with products made by competitors, including Apple, Microsoft and RIM.

Security concerns

Last week, however, Google confirmed that it had withdrawn Google Wallet from the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus handset, made for US telecommunications company Verizon Wireless. According to Google, Verizon itself requested the withdrawal. The LA Times reported that Verizon had wished to delay its provision of a payment application until it can offer ‘the best security and user experience’ possible.

The move has led to industry speculation about the security of the feature and also follows a recent study indicating that although the UK has been quick to embrace smartphone shopping, it is not a keen nation of mobile bankers.

Daniel Nolan, managing director of theEword, said: “The idea of using a contactless wallet to access card accounts is very appealing, as it is convenient and quick – and means that you don’t have to carry the physical cards around with you. It could be especially useful when you have multiple gift cards and sales promotions to spend.

“However, it remains to be seen how UK smartphone users will react to combining a form of mobile shopping with mobile finances.”

Written by Liane Baddeley

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