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Google leads shoppers into pay-by-wave future

Cards, mobiles and soon 50,000 tills at Macy's at the ready

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Macy's is to join the growing list of American retailers who'll accept payment with the tap of the telephone, or card, but no one is talking about the latter these days.

Google is doing a sterling job pushing Americans to accept proximity payments, in the form of Google Wallet. Having signed up some iconic names including Toys R Us and OfficeMax, the Chocolate Factory can now add department store chain Macy's to the list. It follows a commitment by the retail behemoth, reported by Retail Touch Points, to deploy 50,000 pay-by-wave-enabled tills next year.

But terminals are only half the battle, and the Googleplex has been busy sending out representatives to show people how it's done:

This is all in stark contrast to Europe where the industry has been quietly pushing out terminals with Near Field Communication support without much in the way of fuss, ready for when phones follow. Verifone, the industry leader and the company that will be supplying the terminals for Macy's, long ago stopped selling anything without NFC hardware, so proximity payments will come though the usual equipment cycle even if retailers aren't particularly interested.

This was borne out when we tried Orange's Quick Tap service in Inverness, and were able to pay for things with a tap of the phone rather to the surprise of the chap behind the counter, who didn't know his terminal could do that. In the UK many terminals accept proximity payments, and millions of credit cards already have the technology embedded, but very few people use them or even know they're there.

Waiting for the public to notice is too long winded for Google, which wants to see its Wallet service in every pocket and every telephone before the competition has a chance to get a foothold. ®

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