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(Updates with new partnerships in first paragraph.)
Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. rolled out its mobile- payments application on Sprint Nextel Corp.’s network, and said it’s teaming up with Visa Inc., Discover Financial Services and American Express Co. to make the service more widely available.
Google, whose earlier partners included Citigroup Inc. and MasterCard Inc., uses so-called near-field communication technology to let consumers pay by tapping a smartphone on a reader at checkout. The Google Wallet service, available now on a handset from Sprint, enables users to charge items to Citi MasterCard credit cards, Google said in a blog post today.
“Our goal is to make it possible for you to add all of your payment cards to Google Wallet, so you can say goodbye to even the biggest traditional wallets,” the company said in the blog post. Visa, Discover and American Express have opened their NFC specifications to Google, which may allow their cards to be added to future versions of the application, Google said.
With the new service, Google can capture more information about consumers’ shopping behavior when they’re not on the Internet. The agreement gives Visa, the biggest payment network, a presence in three digital wallets: Google’s; its own, unveiled in May; and Isis, a joint venture of mobile-phone companies.
“Customers will make decisions as to which wallet they’re going to use, and we want to make sure customers have a choice,” said John Partridge, president of San Francisco-based Visa, in a phone interview today. “We believe there will be a number of different alternatives that will become available and there won’t be one that becomes a standard.”
About 300,000 terminals worldwide are enabled with the technology, Partridge said.
Google’s challenge now is spurring consumers to adopt the service, said Richard Doherty, an analyst with Envisioneering Group in Seaford, New York.
“It’s a lot tougher to implement than to model and to prototype,” he said. “They really have to prove themselves with this.”
--Editors: Dan Reichl, William Ahearn
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