Google betting heavily on NFC with latest Wallet app update

Google relying on NFC more in latest Wallet app upgrade.

When two new versions of the iPhone were unveiled last week, many experts in the payment field denounced the devices because of the lack of near field communication technology. It has been predicted prior to the last few Apple hardware upgrades that an NFC chip would be included, but it has yet to materialize and some payment professionals have called it a dead technology because of this fact.

However, the death of NFC is overblown. All you need to do is look at Google and its family of mobile devices. This week, Google announced an updated version of the popular mobile Wallet application. The app lets users send money wirelessly, stores loyalty cards and offers a view of all Google Wallet activity. Individuals can connect a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover card to the device and make in-store payments via NFC.

Version 3.1 relies on two main features to operate: NFC technology and barcode scanning. In a blog post, Peter Hazlehurst, Google's director of product management, spoke about the current lineup of devices and what is coming down the pipe.

"If you have one of the 29 different NFC-enabled devices, you can continue to tap and pay at hundreds of thousands of US locations, while also enjoying the new Wallet features," the article reads. "We also have more NFC-enabled devices on the horizon as we continue to invest in NFC with our partners."

NFC technology is still carving out its place in mobile commerce, and the user-base is starting to embrace it. Whether or not Apple gets involved, the tech has a place in the future of payments and merchants should keep an eye on the marketplace and the growth of NFC enabled phones.

by Ty Hardison

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