Google plans to release a special sticker that will allow phones without built-in near field communication (NFC) capabilities to access the Google Wallet app. This intermediate solution was revealed during the Q&A that was part of Google Wallet’s press launch and demo last May 26 in New York City.
The app virtualizes a user’s Citi MasterCard credit card or Google Prepaid Card by storing the pertinent credit card information in the phone. Purchases are made by tapping the phone on a point-of-sale reader specifically made for this program. Besides making electronic payments, users can also receive special offers and other loyalty information from supporting merchants. For the whole process to work, the phone needs to have NFC technology.
Currently the only Android phone model that has NFC features and can use Google’s new mobile payment system is the Nexus S 4G. Unfortunately not every Android user owns such a phone. The Google Wallet special sticker can be attached to the back of the phone and works like a single-purpose NFC chip. It will only work for the app and it can only be set to accommodate a single credit card. A proposed method to bypass this limitation is to associate a Google Prepaid Card with the special sticker. This virtual card from Google can be funded from any bank or credit card account. As an incentive, $10 is deposited the first time a user opens a Google Prepaid Card account.
It will probably take a year of development before the majority of Android phone models have native NFC support. With this special sticker, Android users can immediately access the innovations offered by the Google Wallet app.