Google has announced its plans to launch Google Wallet, a new mobile payment system in tandem with Citi, Mastercard and Sprint. The goal of the initiative is to build an open mobile payment ecosystem with an API to allow merchants and customers to buy and sell product quickly.
Along with the announcement of Wallet, Google also quietly announced the launch of its own prepaid card to tie into Wallet and Google Offers, its own Groupon-alike service that spotlights special offers from local merchants for massive discounts to drive sales in tandem with loyalty programs.
The Wallet service will initially launch with the Google Nexus S 4G on Sprint as an app, following the integration of Google Voice service on the carrier this month. The service will further be expanded to more phones as more phones are released with NFC hardware, with Citi and MasterCard providing infrastructure support as the service can be tied to an open Citi Mastercard as well as the aforementioned Google Prepaid Card for purchases, also backed by Mastercard and includes PayPass support.