Google Wallet is an amazing little application. Many people think that NFC payment solutions aren't yet common enough in the UK to warrant the feature, but I'm sure you'll be surprised when you find out just how many shops accept contactless payment. McDonald's, Starbucks and Greggs are just three of the big names that accept contactless payment. But it's not just the big brands that are moving forward - my local corner shop also supports contactless payment. If the PayPass logo is present, then you can use your phone to pay.
After installing Google Wallet on my Galaxy Nexus last night, I was eager to test it out. So, for lunch today I headed down to Greggs and looked around for something tasty. I picked up a lemon muffin and took it to the counter, only to be informed by the nice lady behind it that contactless payment wasn't allowed for purchases under £3. I'm not sure if that's corporate policy for Greggs, but whatever. Not wanting to blow half of my $10 credit in Greggs, I decided to go into McDonald's instead. Ordered a Mayo Chicken and Hamburger, opened Google Wallet, entered my PIN and tapped the Galaxy Nexus against the contactless payment area - done. Needless to say, the woman at the till was shocked to see that I had just paid for my food with my phone. That was a pretty good feeling.
You can install Google Wallet on your Galaxy Nexus by following the instructions here. I obviously take no responsibility for anything that you do to your phone. Google is currently giving out a free $10 credit to everyone who signs up to Google Wallet before the end of December. My order at McDonald's came in at £1.88, which was converted to $2.95.
And that's the issue. Google Wallet is only officially available in the US at the moment. There are plans to introduce it in the UK during "early 2012", but of course that can mean anything. As Google Wallet isn't meant to be used by residents of the UK, there seems to be no way to add credit to my account. I can only spend the free £6 that Google provided, at least for now. That sucks. I'm sure Google has a good reason for geographically limiting Google Wallet's use... I'd just like to know what it is. As my friends at Grow would say: "shut up and take my money".
I certainly hope Google will open up this feature soon. Is there anything stopping PayPal from writing a similar application to Google Wallet? I genuinely have no clue. Right now, I just want to continue paying for lunch with my phone, and if a competitor beats Google to it, I'll be damned sure to jump ship.