Google's believed to be ready to launch its long-rumored mobile payment system for Android this week.
Based on near-field communication (NFC) the 'mobile wallet' system would allow customers to pay for goods by simply waving their phone in front of a reader at checkout. It would also provide special offers, couplns and targeted advertising.
According to the Wall Street Journal, tomorrow's announcement is likely to include details of deals with stores in New York and San Francisco, with Bloomberg adding Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington to the list. Macy's, American Eagle Outfitters and Subway are all believed to have signed up.
Google's also teamed up with Sprint Nextel - maker of the Nexus S - VeriFone, MasterCard and Citigroup to offer the service. Google would benefit through being able to offer better-targeted advertising.
Just last week, MasterCard released a survey indicating that most smartphone users are happy to embrace NFC payments. However, it also showed that two thirds were concerned about security.
And while Google is now equipping all its Android phones with NFC, the majority of US smartphones lack an NFC chip. However, Forrester Research predicts that as many as 50 million NFC-equipped phones will be sold this year, and other vendors such as Apple are believed to be introducing the technology.
Another similar system, ISIS, is currently under development by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.
NFC mobile payment services are already available in the Far East.