Would you rather leave home without your wallet and be penniless all day, or leave your phone at home and be out of touch all day? Many people would rather be penniless. If only phones could be used to pay for things, it would be easier to leave a wallet behind.


Enter Google Wallet, the search engine's answer to this problem. This mobile app uses a chip in the phone so it can be waved in front of payment stations to buy things. Users set it up by registering a credit card to the phone or loading a Google Prepaid Card with a credit card. A four-digit password enables payment transactions. Google Wallet is rolling out this week to Sprint's Nexus S 4G phones by way of an Android operating-system software update.

为此,搜索引擎谷歌公司(Google)推出了谷歌钱包(Google Wallet)移动支付服务。使用这款应用程序的手机只要安装一个芯片,将手机在支付终端前扫过,就能完成购物付款。用户可以指定一张信用卡用于手机支付,或事先用信用卡给谷歌预付卡(Google Prepaid Card)充值,交易时还需输入一个四位数的密码。谷歌钱包将于9月末通过安卓(Android)系统软件升级的方式在Sprint移动通信公司的Nexus S 4G手机上推出。

I've been trying Google Wallet in Washington, D.C., and Palo Alto, Calif., and I find it delightfully easy to use. Though still in its infancy, it isn't hard to imagine digital payments catching on and becoming commonplace. But there are plenty of caveats.


Google Wallet works only with phones with an NFC (near field communication) chip, which allows secure digital transactions over a short distance. In Japan, millions of cellphone users have been using mobile wallets with NFC chips, but the technology has been slow to catch on in other countries. For now, the Nexus S 4G is the only phone in the U.S. that works with Google Wallet, though more phones are expected soon.

谷歌钱包只能在内嵌了近场通讯(NFC)芯片的手机上使用,这种芯片能在一个较小范围内实现安全的电子支付。在日本,已有数百万手机用户通过NFC芯片使用手机钱包服务,但该技术在其他国家的推广较为缓慢。目前,Nexus S 4G是在美国唯一能使用谷歌钱包的手机,但未来将有更多的手机加入这一行列。

Paying with Google Wallet is possible only at stores that offer MasterCard PayPass. In Washington, D.C., near my office and home, these included Sunoco, McDonald's, CVS and Papyrus; other stores include Home Depot, 7-Eleven, Best Buy and OfficeMax. A MasterCard PayPass finder is built into the app and displays nearby locations where PayPass works. For now, only 150,000 merchants have the equipment in stores to use PayPass.

谷歌钱包只能在配备万事达卡(MasterCard) PayPass无线支付终端的商店使用。在华盛顿特区靠近我办公室和家的区域,这些商店包括太阳石油(Sunoco)、麦当劳(McDonald's)、CVS连锁药店、Papyrus鞋店、家得宝(Home Depot)家居超市、7-Eleven便利店、百思买(Best Buy)电器商场和OfficeMax办公用品超市。谷歌钱包应用程序中内置了一个万事达PayPass的寻找功能,可以显示附近支持PayPass的地方。目前,只有15万家商户安装了PayPass终端。

Citi MasterCard is currently the only credit card that can be directly added to Google Wallet, but the Google Prepaid Card can be loaded with other credit cards. Google said it will also work with Visa, American Express and Discover cards, but couldn't say when.

花旗银行万事达卡(Citi MasterCard)是目前唯一可直接通过谷歌钱包使用的信用卡,但谷歌预付卡能支持其他信用卡。谷歌公司表示,其将与Visa、美国运通(American Express)和发现卡(Discover)等发卡机构合作,但没有明确具体时间。

Several other companies are planning their own digital-payment solutions. Last week, PayPal said it would launch pilot programs at the end of this year for a cloud wallet, usable by entering a phone number and a PIN at the register. Square has launched Square Card Case, a free app available on Android and iPhone that works on the idea of paying with virtual tabs, like starting a tab at a bar. Both ideas from PayPal and Square would avoid the need for phones with NFC chips.

另几家公司也在计划自己的数字支付解决方案。2011年9月中旬,PayPal表示将在年底推出一个云钱包的试点项目,只要在付款台输入手机号和PIN密码就能使用。美国移动支付公司Square已在安卓和iPhone平台推出一款免费应用程序Square Card Case,玩的是虚拟标签的概念,只要在商家刷过一次卡,下次在这个商家就可以通过手机支付。PayPal和Square的移动支付构想都不需要内置NFC芯片的手机。

Next month, Google Wallet will let people register their store loyalty cards and gift cards in the app so a Wallet purchase at CVS, for example, would recognize my CVS ExtraCare card. Registering a gift card from, say Macy's, saves the trouble of carrying the card at all times. (Currently, only American Eagle Outfitters allows loyalty cards and gift cards with Google Wallet in some of its New York stores.)

2011年10月,谷歌钱包将允许用户在其应用程序中注册商店贵宾卡和礼品卡。举例而言,如果你在CVS药店这样的商户使用谷歌钱包,终端就会自动识别你的CVS特别关爱卡(CVS ExtraCare card)。把梅西百货(Macy's)这类商户的礼品卡注册到应用程序上,就不用带着礼品卡出门了。(目前,只有美国之鹰女装店(American Eagle Outfitter)在纽约的一些门店能够使用谷歌钱包的贵宾卡和礼品卡注册功能。)

People also will be able to search for more store coupons on Google's search engine and click to add them to their Google accounts for synchronizing with Google Wallet.


My first Wallet purchase was at CVS, where I picked up two boxes of tissues and a pack of AA batteries. I waited in the checkout line in anticipation of paying with just a casual wave of my phone. But when the checkout person asked if I had the CVS loyalty card, I still had to dig the card out of my wallet to swipe it for discounts. Once that was done, I waved my phone at the paymentterminal, entered my four-digit security code and walked away.


When I bought lunch at McDonald's, a woman nearby was in awe of my wave-to-pay method and said she couldn't wait to get it. At 7-Eleven, the man working the register seemed startled by how quickly I paid for a bottle of water, especially after the guy in front of me had spilled several coins and bills on the counter to pay. I used my Google Prepaid Card at CVS and used my registered MasterCard at McDonald's and 7-Eleven. Each card is represented in the app with an image of a credit card. My Citi MasterCard was the right blue hue and even had my name on it, with just the last four digits of the card number visible.


If a phone's screen is in sleep mode, a user must wake it in order for transactions to work. This step was purposely added so people don't unknowingly buy something when they walk by a PayPass terminal. The four-digit security code has an adjustable time-out period that can last for as little as one minute or as long as 30 minutes. I adjusted my code time-out to 15 minutes and was able, in two tests, to swipe my phone without entering the code.


Google Wallet can't hold your driver's license or other official forms of identification, so even if it takes off and works everywhere, you'll still have to carry your license with you.


Katherine Boehret