Google has sent an e-mail to its wallet users that it will stop supporting NFC use for loyalty and gift cards in its mobile wallet. This move follows shortly on an announcement by American Express that it is eliminating daily deal offers from its Serve mobile wallet:
On August 21, 2013, we are ending the current NFC redemption of gift and loyalty cards added to Google Wallet,” states a Google email sent Thursday to Wallet users. “If you’ve already redeemed your gift cards, you don’t have to do anything. If you have a balance remaining and you’d like to spend it using the tap and pay functionality, you must do so by August 21st. If you still have the physical gift cards, they will continue to work even after August 21st. Please note that this does not impact NFC credit and debit card payments, and you’ll still be able to tap your phone to make purchases.
You can read more of the e-mail at Fierce Mobile Content.
As the technology site Engadget notes:
Loyalty program linking is something Google has been showing off since Wallet was first detailed, so it’s curious to see the service suddenly being limited like this. When we asked for clarification, a company spokesperson replied that there wasn’t much more they could share. Page and Co. said its working on a solution though, and will have details to talk about “soon.”
Google Wallet also once offered a prepaid card to go along with its mobile application and later ended that.
It appears that mobile wallet providers are still looking for the right mix of products and services to draw in customers and encourage retailers to accept mobile payments. Loyalty and offers seems to be falling by the wayside, but Serve’s recent connect with the Isis wallet shows that interest in NFC payments remains high. Clearly we have a ways to go before people start leaving the house without their wallets before leaving without their phones.