This piece was written by Jonathan Blum - jonathanblum.com for Entrepreneur Magazine.
Curated by JanLGordon covering "The Explosion of Mobile & Beyond"
When it comes to reinventing the way people pay for goods and services, Google is ahead of the pack with its Google WalletAndroid application, available on the Sprint Nexus S 4G phone.
It allows users to transfer money directly to merchants using a smartphone app that runs on devices that are enabled to accept "contact less" payments. While other, similar systems -- such as Exxon and Mobil's Speedpass program -- exist, Google Wallet is the first major deployment of the technology with wider retail functionality.
And although the service is still largely in the roll-out phase, and it isn't perfect, it does offer some tantalizing possibilities for businesses considering the future of mobile commerce.
What is it: Google Wallet lets consumers to pay for goods and services by using virtual credit card information stored on a smartphone that communicates wirelessly with a nearby payment terminal.
The transaction works by tapping a smartphone against a special reader -- for now, MasterCard PayPass -- that merchants install at their point-of-sale terminals.
Google Wallet doesn't change the relationship between small businesses and their financial institutions any more than an old-fashioned leather wallet. It's just an intermediary.