Google wants you to leave your wallet at home to get LBS discounts while you shop

The phone, keys, wallet check people do every morning to make sure they don’t leave the house without the essentials will soon be reduced to just remembering their smartphone.

Google wants consumers to make the transition from paying with the plastic in their wallets to paying with technology and is planning to release a new payment system called Google Wallet.

Google Wallet is a mobile app that uses near field communication (NFC) and location-based services (LBS) to turn smartphones into a next-generation wallets.

Paying with Google Wallet is as easy as tapping the device on a compatible terminal.

“Because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will do more than a regular wallet ever could,” explains Google in a May 26 blog post. “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.”

While the new technology is likely to appeal to young people - a recent study by Mastercard Worldwide found that 63 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds are at ease using their mobile phone to make purchases and 65 percent would rather be without their wallet than their mobile phone - shoppers who are concerned about privacy may have reason to be wary about paying with their mobile device.

According to Technology website ReadWriteWeb, Google Wallet users will have their purchase history tracked to the finest detail.

“With a mobile payments system like Google Wallet, the company can track transactions all the way through from the first time a user clicks on an ad in Google's search results to the time of checkout at the point-of-sale,” explains ReadWriteWeb’s Sarah Perez.

“It will also open up whole new forms of advertising” says Perez, which is the main reason why Google is so keen to sign up users.

With peoples’ complete Google Wallet transaction history (not to mention years of their search queries) in its pocket, Google will be able to dish out even more highly targeted, hyper-local ads.

If this kind of “retail spying” sounds daunting, you should probably start throwing out your existing loyalty cards. Companies have been tracking consumer spending habits for years, gaining valuable data every time a loyalty card is swiped.

Online retailers such as Amazon use customers’ shopping histories (and product searches) to suggest relevant products based on their past purchases too.

At the end of the day, Google Wallet is “aimed at making it easier for you to pay for and save on the goods you want, while giving merchants more ways to offer coupons and loyalty programs to customers, as well as bridging the gap between online and offline commerce,” says Rob von Behren and Jonathan Wall, Founding Engineers on Google Wallet.

"Google Wallet is currently in a field test in the U.S. only,” a Google spokesperson told Relaxnews.

“We don’t have specific dates to announce today but will keep you posted as we make progress."

http://www.google.com/wallet/

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