Google Wallet promised to be the solution that would allow us to use our Android powered smartphones with NFC hardware as a virtual credit card, paying for goods without needing to use cash, our credit cards, or even pulling out our wallets. Last year, Beau Giles wrote up an excellent story for Ausdroid on how Google Wallet works, and how (at the time) it could be massaged a little to get it working in Australia.
Sadly, things have changed since back then, and Google Wallet no longer works in Australia in any measurable way. Since this time, many an Ausdroid reader (and many an Ausdroid writer, for that point) has waited for the day when our NFC handsets could be used in such a way.
According to a tip received by Ausdroid this afternoon, from a Google source close to the subject, Google Wallet is soon to be more widely available and will see general availability in Australia and the United Kingdom come January/February 2014.
Citing the lack of secure element in the newly released Nexus 5, and Android 4.4′s ability to use Host Card Emulation (HCE) on compatible NFC hardware to do away with the requirement for a secure element, our source tells us that Google Wallet could beat many local solutions (offered directly by the banks) to market. More importantly, such a service from Google wouldn’t tie users to a particular bank, meaning they could use the one app to access credit cards issued by a number of banks, a great outcome.
We’re certainly keen to see this become a reality, and we’re sure you are too. We do note, however, that this is squarely in the rumour file, and without corroboration from elsewhere, we thoroughly recommend consumption of salt with this news.
Do you know more about Google Wallet coming to Australia? Got any news from any of the Big 4 banks on what’s around the corner? Feel free to Tip Us and we can talk further!