The mobile wallet wars are gearing up. With ISIS finally getting its much-awaited launch, and with Apple touting its own iOS Passbook, it’s Google’s turn to up the ante with Google Wallet. But while Google has hinted that a new Wallet is available, users will need to request an invitation before gaining access.
We don’t know yet what Google has in store for us, and we can only speculate. However, given previous concerns on mobile wallets and wish-lists of what users want and need, security has been cited as the primary concern. Well, not that Google Wallet is not secure in itself. But some carriers — namely Verizon — have blocked Google Wallet access, citing security issues.
With this next update, though, it is hoped that all carriers will finally enable access to Google’s mobile payment system, which will mean support for a wider set of NFC-enabled smartphones on more mobile networks. Otherwise, Google’s payment system will continue facing roadblocks in implementation, and it would be no fun for users if they have a wallet app they can’t even use.
One interesting point to note here is that when you request for your invitation, Google asks what kind of device you own — Android, iOS or Other (with the “other” phone curiously looking like a QWERTY-enabled BlackBerry device). Given that the iPhone 5 does not even have NFC, we wonder whether Google will be allowing alternative tap-to-pay methods for smartphones that don’t use this standard. Interestingly enough, the teaser page says “More phones. More ways to tap and pay.” If anything, this is indicative that Google Wallet might soon be available on more platforms, using additional tap-to-pay standards aside from NFC.