Google

Headquarters: 
United States

Google, which makes more than 95% of its revenue from Web advertising, sees a major opportunity to use NFC to help it take advantage of its Web search dominance with physical merchants and advertisers.

With more than 90% of purchases conducted at the physical point of sale in the United States, Google plans to use smartphones, geo-location and NFC technology to stake its claim to what it calls a “new era of commerce” – bringing the online and offline worlds together.

The company unveiled its much-anticipated Google Wallet in late May 2011, planning to launch in New York, San Francisco and other U.S. cities in the summer. Users will be able to tap Google’s Nexus S 4G phones, and later other Android NFC handsets, to pay with a Citi-issued credit application and Google’s own prepaid application, both supporting MasterCard PayPass technology. Other banks and services providers are expected to join later in the initiative, which Google has worked on for many months.

Google would also enable users to “clip” coupons and other offers they find in searches on their phones and by tapping the phones on smart posters to add to the wallet. The offers would also be sent to their phone inboxes. Users could redeem the offers with a “SingleTap,” along with the payment.

To encourage major retail chains to accept contactless payment and couponing, Google is subsidizing terminals. It has already announced major new U.S. merchants to accept contactless stateside, including the Subway sandwich chain, Walgreen retail pharmacies and Macy’s department stores.

The customized couponing service is part of Google Offers, a competitor to deal-of-the-day startup Groupon and underpinning Google’s business case for NFC.

Google plans to make its money not with NFC payment–it won't even charge users to top up its prepaid card–but with targeted advertising and offers. The search giant hopes to cash in on the move to mobile for Web browsing and shopping by consumers, using NFC interactivity and other data it collects on shoppers’ location, buying habits and preferences.

It will control the secure chip in its Nexus S, which stores the payment applications and probably other applications. It remains to be seen whether it can control secure chips in other Android phones and would block other mobile wallets from being loaded onto the phones.

Google was to test the wallet in New York and San Francisco around the time of its late May 2011 announcement and the commercial launch would happen in these and other U.S. cities. It began trialing Google Offers in Portland, Ore, in early June 2011 and plans to expand Offers to New York and San Francisco in the summer.

Google has been talking to other banks in North America and also in Europe to put their payment applications in the wallet, as the Web giant makes its move to capture what former CEO Eric Schmidt has called a “mega-scale opportunity,” for mobile commerce with smartphones, cloud-based apps and NFC.

Key figures: 
Financial Results
  2010   2009  Change
Revenue  29,321  23,651  24%
Net Income 8,505 6,520  30.4%
In millions of US$

Employees 
24,400 (As of Dec. 31, 2010)

Key NFC Personnel: 
Peter Hazlehurst director of product management, wallet
Paul Reddick, head of business development, Google Wallet
Major NFC and Contactless competitors: 

Visa, PayPal, Isis, Microsoft

Last Updated: 
Apr 2012
Author: 
Balaban

HEADLINE NEWS

In-Depth: Payments Wearables Market Enters New Phase as Passive Devices Get Tokenized Bank Cards

NFC TIMES Exclusive – With the announcement this month by large analog watchmaker Swatch of the expansion of its digital payments service SwatchPAY! to Europe, the payments wearables market could see a considerable change.

Provisioning Tokens to Swatch Watches in the Store: How SwatchPAY! Works

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Switzerland-based watchmaker Swatch plans to roll out its SwatchPAY! contactless payments service to a number of European countries and then perhaps globally, representing budding competition to Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. But unlike these three smartwatch-enabled Pays services and others, SwatchPAY! uses low-cost analog watches as its payments devices.

Cook Discloses Apple Pay Transactions Showing That Growth Continues, Albeit Somewhat More Slowly Than Before

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple Tuesday reported that its digital payments service recorded more than 1.8 billion transactions globally in the tech giant’s fiscal first quarter ending in December, more than double compared with the same quarter a year earlier–though transaction growth is slowing and transactions still represent a small percentage of total card transactions.

Garmin Pay Welcomes Support from Third U.S. Network but More Competition on Horizon

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Garmin Pay added a third network to its smartwatch payments service in the U.S. this week, enabling Discover Financial Services-branded cards to be loaded onto its NFC-enabled devices, as more acceptance points for NFC payments in the U.S. come online to give consumers additional places to tap to pay.

Another Major Holdout Among Major U.S. Merchants, Target, Agrees to Accept Contactless and NFC Payments

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Acceptance of contactless and NFC payments in the U.S. has lagged behind many other developed markets for years, but that continues to change, with another major merchant–big box retailer and top 10 U.S. chain Target­–announcing Tuesday that it would soon take tap and pay.

Swatch Expands Payments Service–Provides Affordable Analog Alternative to Smartwatches

Jan 21 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Swatch, one of the world’s largest watchmakers, has expanded its contactless-payments service to its home base of Switzerland, launching the restyled SwatchPAY! service with seven card issuers Thursday. A spokeswoman told NFC Times the company plans to expand the service to other European countries this year. 

Dutch Bank ABN Amro Commercially Launches Payments Wearables with System to Provision after Sale

Jan 18 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Dutch bank ABN Amro commercially launched its contactless payments service from wearables this week, following a lengthy pilot.

More Asian Cities Open Up to Open-Loop Cards and NFC- and QR Code-Based Fare Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Unlike transit authorities in the U.S. and Europe, transit agencies and the governments that control them in Asia often run their closed-loop fare-collection schemes as separate businesses.

In-Depth: Contactless Card Issuance to Finally Get Rolling in U.S. This Year

Jan 23 2019

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The U.S. is finally on the brink of large-scale contactless EMV card issuance, with optimistic projections from the payment networks, and at least one of the largest U.S. issuers committed to converting its credit and debit card portfolios  to dual-interface cards by the end of 2019.

In-Depth: In-Car Payments Gears Up but Takes Time to Get Rolling

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Car manufacturers, payments networks and platform providers continue to make deals as they gear up for the much-anticipated arrival of in-car payments–which would enable motorists to buy gasoline, pay for parking and purchase food for takeout, all from their dashboards.

Golden Globes Trophies Get Provisioned Like Payments Wearables to Ensure Authenticity

NFC TIMES Exclusive – The 76th Annual Golden Globes held Sunday featured the usual share of Hollywood celebrities preening for the cameras, showing off their new designer gowns and latest nips and tucks, while holding their trophies high if they won.

Japanese Megabank Mizuho Plans to Launch New Digital Currency Soon for Mobile Payments Service

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Japanese megabank Mizuho will reportedly move forward with its planned launch of a new digital currency to enable QR code-based mobile payments in stores and for funds transfers–with plans to cut the fees merchants will pay to accept the new payments scheme, as compared with credit cards.