Earlier this week nibletz.com Co-Founder and Google extreme loyalist Cameron Wright, was bragging to me while we were on the road in Ohio, that Google Wallet was now a game-changer. He was finally excited that you could add any major credit card to Google’s NFC enabled “Google Wallet” product.
Today that is still the case however Google has come under fire by TechCrunch and SAI after it was learned, that they actually had no definitive agreement with American Express, and one other credit card carrier. They haven’t named the other credit card carrier but our sources tell us it starts with a D and ends in an R and has iscove in the middle.
While both American Express cards and the other cards are still available for use with Google Wallet either company can pull the plug at anytime. This TechCrunch story points specifically to American Express.
American Express is concerned with the transparency that Mastercard’s Pay Pass program provides to the customers. Currently Mastercard Pay Pass terminals are still the only terminals that are able to accept Google Wallet, regardless of which credit card provider your transaction goes to.
This isn’t meant to alarm anyone as Google Wallet is essentially a safe mobile commerce payment solution. American Express (and we will assume the other company as well), doesn’t like the amount of data that Mastercard Pay Pass provides. Mastercard’s Pay Pass terminals only provide location and transaction amount back to credit card carriers outside of Mastercard.
While American Express has long been a partner of Google’s “Google Checkout” payment system, they never signed an agreement with Google specifically for Google Wallet. Earlier this year Google merged all of their payment products together under one umbrella, perhaps thinking that this merge would allow them to arbitrarily just use all four brands.
American Express’ Social Media VP Scott Minor told Chris Velazco at TechCrunch:
“We want to make sure Google’s mobile wallet product meets the standards we set for our Cardmembers in terms of transparency and clarity about transaction detail,” Minor said. “Right now, American Express does not have an agreement with Google for our cards to be used in the Google mobile wallet.”
It took a good part of the day yesterday, but Google finally replied to Velazco’s request for a statement and said:
For many years, we’ve accepted American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover for online and mobile transactions. The latest version of Google Wallet extends these same benefits to people who choose to use the Google Wallet app to make purchases in-store. We are in active discussions with American Express and look forward to working together as partners as the world embraces digital payments.”
Google has been struggling with Google Wallet since they first launched the product via the Samsung Galaxy S and then the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. When it was released Google Wallet supported their own in-house prepaid credit card program along with Citibank MasterCards. While American Express and the “other” credit card carrier hash out the details of an agreement with Google, all four brands are still able to connect to Google Wallet and use via NFC.
We are well into the summer of 2012 and still waiting for the rollout of ISIS, the mobile payment service developed in concert with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile .At South By Southwest earlier this year ISIS indicated that they would have markets up and testing during the Summer of 2012.
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