Earlier this year, on May 26th to be precise, Google announced Google Wallet and their intent to render your current wallet totally useless. It took a few months, but on September 19th the service became available to the public. In order to use it however you needed to be a Sprint customer using a Google Nexus S, and while you don’t need to be a Citibank customer to actually use Google Wallet, your life got a hell of a lot easier if you were. Sadly not much has changed since then. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was supposed to be the second device to get Google Wallet support, but Verizon has already announced that they have no intention of supporting the service, worse yet they still haven’t even announced when the Galaxy Nexus is going to ship. That’s the Google Wallet story thus far, in America, but what about Europe?
According to Maxime Amiot in the French publication Les Echos, Google Wallet will be trialled in the UK during Q1 2012 with the goal of having it up and running by the time the Olympics begin during the summer. Amiot doesn’t discuss any additional countries, but typically when one launches a service in the UK, then the rest of Western Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain) follows shortly thereafter. Now just because Google Wallet isn’t yet available in Europe doesn’t mean that countries are sitting idle. In the UK there’s “Quick Tap”, which was introduced by Orange. In France there’s Cityzi, which is again backed by Orange. Germany’s three major operator are working together on something called mpass, due to launch in early 2012. And Telefónica in Spain, better known as O2 everywhere else, is already using NFC enabled BlackBerry device for mobile payments.
At the end of the day we just hope that all of these services will be as easy to store and use on our devices as plastic cards are inside our wallets, because that’s what NFC is really competing with, the ease of use that existing payment methods already offer.