Attendees watch a demonstration of the Google Wallet during a news conference unveiling the mobile payment system in New York. Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
Google officially launched its Google Wallet mobile payments platform Monday. Leveraging near-field communication (NFC) technology, the company wishes to eliminate the wallet completely by digitizing credit card information and storing it directly in the phone. With the NFC chip built directly into phone itself, users can pay for goods by waving their phone in front of a scanner, making transactions quick, easy, and paperless.
This digital system may revolutionize the way we pay, but should users jump in so quickly? Here are six reasons why you should wait it out.
- Currently, only the Sprint Nexus S 4G is compatible with Google Wallet. This means that eager Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile customers would have to switch carriers to get their hands on the Google Wallet. Or wait.
- Google Wallet currently only works with Citi-Mastercards or Google Prepaid Cards. Google recently struck a global deal with Visa, but Visa cardholders, along with thousands of other customers, will also have to wait for their financial institutions and banks to add Google Wallet support.
- There is no way to access your full receipts within the Google Wallet app. Right now, transactions displayed in the Google Wallet history only show a date, an amount, and an approximate location. This is very inconvenient. One traditionally keeps receipts in their wallet, but if they still need to be printed out, then Google's wallet is not the complete package quite yet.
- The battery life of the smartphone is an extreme limitation of the Google Wallet. Nexus S 4G phones can live up to 18 hours after a full charge, but using the phone as a hotspot drains the battery extremely quickly. So if your phone dies and you rely on Google Wallet exclusively, congratulations, you're also broke now, too.
- The NFC sticker technology is notoriously missing. At one point, Google assured everyone that smartphones without NFC chips would be able to use Google Wallet by placing a special NFC sticker on your phone, and any transactions made through that sticker would be transmitted to the Google Wallet app via the cloud. This feature was not available at launch, but it's one more reason to wait.
- Other NFCs have yet to debut. PayPal, Microsoft, American Express, Visa, RIM, and even Apple are reportedly all developing their own unique versions of a mobile wallet. Customers ought to wait in case one of these other companies manages to hit a homerun with NFC-technology, particularly Apple.
What do you think of the Google Wallet? Will you buy it? Let us know in the comments section below.