In 2003, MasterCard introduced PayPass, a system in which a credit card outfitted with a near-field communication (NFC) chip could be passed within a couple inches of a reader to pay without swiping. Google Wallet, a new app for Android smartphones, takes NFC a step further, allowing users to make purchases with a wave of a smartphone. Shoppers can authorize the app to charge a preexisting Citi MasterCard card or deduct money from a prepaid debit card.
Until today, that NFC chip on your Sprint Nexus S 4G hasn't been living up to its potential. Today, though, today Google and Sprint have given it life -- and with it, certain death to many a MasterCard balance.
Google just announced the NFC-based mobile payment scheme we all knew was coming: Google Wallet. Leveraging the wireless NFC chip in (some, with more to come) smartphones, Google Wallet allows you to tap your phone on a point-of-sale system to pay with your credit card account, as well as a host of coupons and loyalty cards and other retail-friendly stuff Google showed off today.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.