ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — PSCU is partnering with Google to make Google Wallet available to credit unions. The goal is to keep credit unions top of wallet — and top of mind — with members as payment solutions converge.

The program is currently in a beta test with six PSCU credit unions: GTE Financial, Tampa, Fla.; BCU, Vernon Hills, Ill; CFE FCU, Orlando, Fla.; Arkansas FCU, Jacksonville, Ark; Vantage CU, Bridgeton, Mo., and TruMark Financial CU, Trevose, Penn.

Google Wallet is a mobile payment system developed by Google that allows users to store payment cards on their mobile phone. Google Wallet uses near-field communication (NFC) that allows users to "tap and go" on NFC-enabled payment terminals.

With the adoption pace of mobile and alternative payments increasing dramatically, PSCU President Michael Kelly told Credit Union Journal the time has come for mobile payments to become "real" for the credit union industry. Payments convergence is occurring, he said, and there is the real threat that credit unions, just holding onto plastic, can get cut out of the payments mix.

"So branded delivery of mobile payments keeps credit unions at the center of their members' lives," said Kelly.

When members of participating PSCU credit unions download Google Wallet from Google Play, the company's online store, cardholders will see an actual image of their credit union's card, which will be clicked on each time they use Google Wallet to pay. This brand reinforcement is key to helping credit unions own their share of the mobile channel, said Kelly.

Kelly said Google, in its efforts to expand acceptance of Google Wallet, was seeking a strong partner to enter the credit union space and that PSCU's reach, including 56 of the top 100 credit unions, provides Google "access to our market in one fell swoop. They liked that."

Kelly said the first order of business is to work through the beta-tests to ensure the best user experience before rolling the program out further. "We have not set a date for when this will be more widely adopted, but we have our foot on the gas and aim to get it out in the marketplace as soon as possible for as many credit unions that want it."

The newest version of Google Wallet supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

Google Wallet is acceptd at 200,000 merchant locations across the U.S. and consumer adoption of the Google Wallet has almost doubled since August when Google released a new, cloud-based version of the app that supports all credit and debit cards.

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