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Q: I’m very excited to start using Google Wallet. Does this technology work with the iPhone?
Update 8/1/2012: The Google Wallet app now supports all major credit cards. Google is updating the wallet app to securely store credit card info in the cloud, instead of on your phone, eliminating some of the security concerns associated with the new technology. There is still much left to be desired however, as Google Wallet is still only available for Android.
If you have an iPhone you’re not quite out of luck, we currently recommend Lemon Wallet. Lemon Wallet is currently available for free in the app store and supports all major credit cards, including the Capital One Venture card (our favorite rewards card).
A: Google Wallet, for those who aren’t familiar, is a new (in the United States, anyway—similar technology has been in use in Japan for a while now) payment system that allows you to pay by using your phone. You download the app, input your card information, and then you can tap your phone on the reader to pay at participating retailers. Google’s vision is that eventually you will be able to store your credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and even boarding passes all in your phone, eliminating the need to carry around a wallet.
When Google Wallet first comes out, it will only be available on one phone: the Nexus S 4G, on the Sprint network. Google says it will expand to other phones, but it is not clear yet whether it will be available on the iPhone. The phone would need an NFC chip inside to work with Google Wallet, and rumors have it that the fifth generation of iPhone will not have this chip inside. If this is true, the only way the iPhone could use Google Wallet is if you were to add an attachment onto the phone, similar to the third party Bluetooth keyboards for iPhone.
If you can’t live without Google Wallet, you may want to play it safe by upgrading to the Nexus S 4G (although if you currently have an iPhone, that would mean you have to switch carriers), or waiting until Google announces more phones that will work with this app. If the Nexus S isn’t for you, you’ll have a better shot with an Android phone, since Google will likely expand to other Android phones before allowing Apple’s iPhone to have its new technology.