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Google Wallet offers big sales pitch for CU business.

LAS VEGAS--Call it an impassioned sales pitch. But in a one-hour presentation to a standing room only audience at the Mon-ey2020 conference Google executives plainly said, We want to work with credit unions and community banks.

"In less than a week you can have your card in our Wallet," said Frank Young, a business development manager with Google Wallet.

Google offers two deal sweeteners. At Money202, it said that its processes reduce the steps in buying with a mobile device from a typical nine screens to three. And that simplification, said Young, will sharply increase conversion.

The other sweetener: "We are not another mouth to feed in the payments process," said Young. "We may be under water in many transactions"-meaning that in some cases Google will cover a portion of the processing fees out of its own pocket. "It would be in-sane to do this if we were about payments. We are not. We are an advertising company."

What Google is asking from financial institutions is to be the search giant's partner and there is a reason: it wants to leverage the trust a credit union has with its members to smooth adoption of mobile commerce.

A key permission Google seeks is the right to upload credit card art to its Wallet--so a card appears in vivid color rather than as an unadorned gray. The familiarity of a trusted card, Google seems to think, will accelerate the consumer's plunge into buying with a mobile phone.

Google also sought credit union participation in adding a widget to the institution's Web page that lets members easily populate Google Wallet with appropriate credit cards. Young pointed to the site as an example of Google "save to wallet" tools, saying it makes the process simple for the consumer and also for the institution.

"This is not a big strategic decision," said Young. "You don't need board level discussion."

He added: "It is not our goal to disintermediate financial institutions. Our commitment to financial institutions is evidenced by how hard we are working to include them in the process."

Young stressed: "Your data is your data. We know you value your data. We will give it to you."

"There are no fees from Google to add your card art or add to Wallet. We want to make it easy for FIs."

"M-commerce will be a $31 billion opportunity by 2015," predicted Young. "We see at least 50 billion connected devices by 2020, 10 times more than in 2012," said Young. "Our hope is that card issuers will see this as a chance to be top of wallet," -that is, grab a spot be-fore the m-commerce race turns into a stampede.

Matt Kerper, another Google business development manager, asked the audience: "How many financial institutions are out there?"

Several dozen hands went up.

When the Google executives called for questions, an early questioner identified himself as with the $2 billion Lake Jackson, Texas-based Texas Dow Employees Credit Union. And his question was a simple, how do we get started?

The Google executives said, con-tact us. We promise to follow up.

As the session broke up, Joe Crosson, a senior vice president with $450 million Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union in Anchor-age, approached a reporter and volunteered that his institution had already signed up for Google Wallet. The process, he indicated, was about as uncomplicated as the Google executives had depicted it.

Crosson did have one gripe. Near Field Communication, the connecting technology that powers Google Wallet, has scarce deployment yet in Alaska. But it will come, Crosson seemed to believe, and Denali will be ready for it.

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Title Annotation:ONSITE COVERAGE
Author:McGarvey, Robert
Publication:Credit Union Times
Date:Oct 31, 2012
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