Can Google Wallet Spread Mobile Payment Adoption?

We recently discussed how Google Wallet could be a game changer in mobile payment. Now, Google recently announced that Google Checkout will be replaced by Google Wallet, which allows for in-store payments from an NFC-enabled smartphone in addition to online shopping.

Who Can Use Google Wallet for In-store Purchases?
If you’re a current user of Google Checkout, you’ll be notified about the switch upon login, and any stored payment information will be transferred over. However, Google Wallet has not experienced a wide adoption for in-store purchases, mostly because many smartphones are not yet NFC-enabled.

Only Sprint Nexus S users who also have a Citibank MasterCard or Google prepaid card that are making purchases at MasterCard PayPass-enabled merchants can use Google Wallet. As you can imagine, the percentage of the population who have the phone, card and are shopping at the right retailer is very limited, so don’t expect to see many people shopping this holiday season.

When Will Mobile Purchasing Become the Norm?
During 2012, we will start to see more NFC-enabled mobile phones, but it will probably be a few years before mobile payment experiences widespread usage.

Why Aren’t Retailers Adopting NFC Payment Systems?
NFC-enabled POS equipment can be expensive to install and would have to be integrated with existing systems. Because of this, retailers won’t typically invest until there is a huge consumer demand for it and it will increase sales.

What’s Next?
As more smartphones become NFC-enabled, more consumers will be interested in what their phones new features can do for them. Once retail giants see the demand, larger ones will follow suit, and mobile payment will trickle down the retail hierarchy until, one day, it becomes the norm. The question is when is that day? Share your thoughts on mobile payment adoption in the US by commenting below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.