Google Wallet & Offers Get Green Light: NFC Trials Begin Today

Only yesterday we told about the expected launch of Google’s Android NFC mobile payments system and today we have news that Google Wallet and Offers have now got the green light and that trials are starting from today. If you haven’t yet heard of NFC, it’s a system whereby you can use your smartphone to pay for goods, in other words using your phone just like a wallet.

The news that Google Wallet is now official came today at a press conference today where Google finally showed off its much talked about system. The carrier that Google is partnering for the NFC (near-field communications) service is Sprint and as yet only the Nexus S 4G handset is compatible, which is handy considering a good offer on this handset that we recently informed readers about. There will of course be more NFC-enabled phones coming, however Engadget points out that non-NFC capable phones will still be able to use the Google Wallet app and that phones that don’t have integrated NFC will be able to use an NFC sticker.

Financial and retail partners for the trial include Citibank, Mastercard, Macy’s, Subway and Walgreens according to Donald Melanson over on Engadget, where you can also see the press release from Google. You can also see more about Google Wallet here. The fact that Mastercard is on board means that Google Wallet will also work with the PayPass system that’s already in place and Google Wallet trials will begin today in New York and San Francisco. This should then lead to a full release later this summer.

If you want to try out the NFC service then you’ll need to have either a Citi Mastercard or a Google Prepaid card. You can also read more on the Official Google Blog. There’s also news on an initiative called Google Offers that will enable you to look for retailers’ offers and also a send you details of a daily “offer of the day.” Using an NFC-capable phone will allow you to use both Google Wallet and Google Offers hand-in-hand so that as well as making payments with your smartphone, you’ll also be able to redeem offers as well as receiving loyalty rewards. Google Wallet and Offers will at first be limited to the U.S. although there are plans for it to expand internationally.

Over on BGR, Todd Haselton also reports on the launch of Google Wallet and notes Google hopes that there will be over 150 million NFC-enabled smartphones by 2014. BGR also quotes Google’s VP of Commerce, Stephanie Tilenius as saying, “Your phone will be your wallet. Just tap, pay and save.” What are your thoughts on Google Wallet and Google Offers? Will you be trying it out? Let us know with your comments.