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This Summer’s Hottest Product: Google’s High-Tech Wallet

 June 01, 2011 09:27 AM

I'm on the road today, so I'm turning the Wall Street Daily reins over to my trusted colleague, Justin Fritz.

Below, he hits on a topic the two of us have heavily profiled over the past several monthsmobile payment technology.

Simply put, this is a high-tech, "touch-free" way of paying for goods, using semiconductor chips embedded in mobile devices, like smartphones. The driving force behind this concept is a technology known as Near-Field Communication (NFC), which allows you to wave your smartphone by a payment reader to complete a transaction. No traditional "swipe-and-sign" credit card routine. In fact, no need for credit cards at all.

The technology is already making serious progress and we expect it to become one of the hottest tech trends over the coming years. Especially since Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) just upped the ante with a major announcement. Here's Justin, with the story…

[Related -Should You Buy The Buckle (BKE)?]

The day of reckoning is coming this summer.

No, I'm not one of those wackos, spouting an "end of the world" prophecy. I'm talking about something much more tangible – the rapid progress of mobile payment technology.

Don't believe me? I'll let the numbers do the talking…

  • Mobile payments in the United States could total $56.7 billion in 2015 – up 990% from $5.2 billion in 2009.
  • Gartner predicts that the number of people using phones for purchases will reach more than 190 million in 2012.
  • By 2014, about half of all smartphones in the United States should be equipped with NFC technology.
  • In a survey, over 60% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 said they'd feel at ease using their smartphone for point-of-sale transactions.

[Related -Google Inc (GOOG) Q4 Earnings Preview: What To Watch?]

If you've read our NFC coverage so far, you'll know about this trend. And there's one company zeroing in on the market's top spot: Google.

Google Wallet: Tap, Pay and Save in Five Easy Steps

Last week, Google finally spilled the beans on its eagerly anticipated mobile payment platform – Google Wallet.

And from what I saw during Google's press conference, the technology definitely delivers.

Basically, Google Wallet is a complete wallet replacement.

The application currently stores credit cards, gift cards and loyalty cards. But other items, like your driver's license and hotel room key, were also listed as storage possibilities.

Here's how it works:

  1. Download the Google Wallet app and sign in with your Google account.
  2. Create a PIN code.
  3. Add credit card details.

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