Money has only seen three different major phases: coin, paper, and then plastic. Google is now at the forefront of pushing money to the fourth phase: mobile. Mobile? Yes mobile, with the help of near field communication (NFC) technology integrated in the Nexus S 4G available on Sprint, Google’s vision aims to eliminate the traditional wallet all together.
Replacing the wallet means having all cards, including loyalty, gift, and coupon cards that people carry in their wallets, readily available to make purchases, get discounts, and redeem loyalty points through Google wallet. For a list of other phones and up-and-coming products that are NFC equipped click here.
Making Google’s vision a reality is aided with the partnerships of Fist Data, Sprint, Citi, and Mastercard, among others. Google is currently working with other financial organizations to make all card providers available on Google Wallet. NFC is a lot like a contactless payment card, but included in your phone. It also acts like Bluetooth but used at a closer range. By touching two devices together, either mobile-to-mobile or mobile-to-NFC smart tag the device can collect information.
There are five ways that NFC could have an impact in the world of mobile:
- Contactless Payment (like the current cards)
- Transportation (replacing smart card swipe)
- Health Care (Provides instant patient information, and instant updates after doctors visits)
- Smart Objects (NFC tags could be scanned to get more information about whatever object had the tag)
- Social Media (exchange profile information when meeting someone in a physical space)
NFC is great for everyone
NFC is becoming an extremely valuable tool for marketers and consumers alike. This technology bridges the gap of the online and offline worlds. For marketers, the rich information that can be gleaned from transactions made by customers is invaluable. Marketer could precisely target their markets equipped with the knowledge of what their markets are buying on- and offline. This information gives marketers insights to what a customer would purchase and what products would be relevant for a customer to purchase in the future. For consumers this valuable information not only creates the ability to track where they made a purchase, but also provides an itemized list of what they bought. This information could be used too for a couple more things including tracking personal trends of specific items purchased, making specific budgets and logging how many calories they consumed during a month.
Marketers and the like, keep your eyes and ears open about NFC, especially because sales through NFC are projected to possibly hit $50 billion by 2014.