But Wallet is only taking a baby step today. Google says the app is only being made available to Sprint Nexus S 4G phones, and users will be able to pay with a Citi Mastercard and/or a Google Prepaid Card (which can be funded via any credit card). As Greg Sterling pointed out earlier today, today’s Google Wallet launch is largely symbolic due to its extremely limited availability.
In its announcement, Google says it’s working with the other major credit card providers:
We appreciate Citi and MasterCard for being our launch partners. And today, Visa, Discover and American Express have made available their NFC specifications that could enable their cards to be added to future versions of Google Wallet.
Our goal is to make it possible for you to add all of your payment cards to Google Wallet, so you can say goodbye to even the biggest traditional wallets.
Google Wallet uses near-field communication (NFC), a wireless technology that sends data between two objects when they’re in very close proximity of each other.
Owners of the Nexus S 4G on Sprint’s network will get the Google Wallet app automatically as part of a software update. Google is giving early adopters a $10 bonus on the Google Prepaid Card if it’s activated by the end of the year.