Bloomberg is reporting that Google will formally announce a mobile payments service later this week. The service will reportedly be offered initially through US carrier Sprint. The service will be initially available in five US cities: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. according to Bloomberg.
Interestingly Sprint has its own recently launched stored-credit card payments capability. However it doesn’t appear to have much adoption to date.
The Bloomberg report says the Google payments program will utilize near-field-communications-enabled (NFC) Android handsets. All Android handsets running the Gingerbread (or later) version of the operating system are NFC-capable.
Google has been testing NFC-based mobile payments at selected retail stores in New York and San Francisco according to previously published reports. (NFC can be used for a number of purposes beyond payments.)
Mobile payments platforms and mobile wallets are in active stages of development or, in some cases, deployment by mobile operators, credit card issuers and others (e.g., Google) both in the US and internationally. Apple will deploy NFC-capable iPhones at some point in the future (though reportedly not in iPhone 4S/5).
While the NFC infrastructure in the US is very limited at best, early deployment by Google and operator partners could give the company a head start in what will become a very important consumer market segment.
(image via Shutterstock.com)