Based on near-field communication (NFC) technology, the service would let consumers pay for items merely by waving or tapping their smartphones near a register at checkout, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, which cited two people familiar with the plans. Google's plans include a phone chip that would include a shopper's financial information, as well as any coupons or gift and store-loyalty cards, Businessweek said.
NFC wireless transmits and receives data from a distance of 4 inches.
Google is not alone in targeting mobile payments, a market expected to be worth $1.13 trillion by 2014, according to IE Market Research. Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Bank of America, AT&T, and Verizon also are vying for dominance in this arena. Online auction site eBay, parent company of PayPal, may launch its own commercial NFC service in the second half of 2011 and is open to partnering with companies like Google, Laura Chambers, senior director of PayPal Mobile, told Businessweek.
On November 16, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA formed Isis, a national mobile commerce network.
"We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets, and transit passes," Michael Abbott, Isis CEO, said at the time.
In December, Visa approved DeviceFidelity's In2Pay MicroSD for smartphones such as some BlackBerry models, the iPhone, and the Samsung Vibrant Galaxy S.
"In addition to issuing plastic magnetic stripe or chip-enabled payment cards, financial institutions can now consider offering their account holders a new technology that enables them to transform their existing phones into fully functional mobile payment devices," said Bill Gajda, head of Visa Mobile.