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Google Wallet will store credit cards in electronic form on Android phones. Users can pay for their purchases by ‘tapping’ their handsets against special readers in stores. Users will also receive offers directly on their phones while in the stores. These will be targeted offers and will be coupons for products they have either bought previously or have indicated they like. In addition, there will be loyalty rewards which will be automatically calculated within the Wallet.
The Wallet will support a variety of cards including gift cards, loyalty cards as well as credit cards. Initially, Google Wallet will only work with Citi Mastercards. Users can pre-load money into a prepaid Google-hosted card so that, if they don’t have a Mastercard, they can pay with another type of card.
More cards will be added over time.
Retailers will also benefit from the related service called Google Offers which lets consumers search for offers and save them on their Google Wallet. A stored coupon is easily redeemed by either tapping a Wallet-equipped phone at a cash register or showing the phone screen to a cashier.
Even better, a merchant can customize incentives. So a frequent customer can receive a higher-value deal than a less loyal customer.
Google will also have location-based ‘check-in’ offers. These offers will be placed like ads in Google searches as well as be situated in Google Places, Google’s local business maps service.
Google has reassured customers that its Wallet application has multiple levels of security including a screen lock and a pin number. Credit cards are encrypted so that the number is never fully displayed.
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