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Google Could Launch Mobile Payment Trials This Week

Google (s goog) is reportedly planning to jump-start mobile payments with a press event this Thursday, followed by a trial service in five major U.S. cities. Bloomberg cites people familiar with the matter who have provided this information and indicates that Sprint’s Nexus S (s s) could be the initial handset for mobile payment trials. The Android phone, also available as a GSM model for T-Mobile’s network since December, is equipped with a near field communication (NFC) wireless chip, making it well-suited for mobile payments. We’ll be in attendance at Google’s press event, having received our invite a short time ago.

Bloomberg’s sources suggest hardware and software from both VeriFone (s pay) and ViVoTech will be used for the wireless payments. In theory, passing an NFC-equipped handset such as the Google Nexus S near a wireless reader would be akin to swiping a credit card in a point-of-sale terminal for a purchase. Coincidentally, I just noticed completely new VeriFone terminals at my local McDonald’s(s mcd) a few hours ago. I don’t live in the anticipated trial locations, but the hardware change gave me pause. And I used an NFC-equipped credit card to make my purchase wirelessly, which leveraged MasterCard’s PayPass technology in the VeriFone terminal. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that MasterCard (s ma) is involved on Thursday; the company offers a mobile provisioning solution that just saw its first customer earlier this month.

Although Google is among the first to bring NFC capabilities to a handset — earlier Nokia(s nok) phones have had NFC chips — it’s almost ironic that Google Android may be the mobile platform to kickstart mobile payments. One of the long-standing complaints about its Android Market is that it’s not easy to make payments, at least when compared to Apple’s iTunes App Store (s aapl). For iOS devices, Apple has a credit card on file, so one-click purchases are a simple matter. Google accepts credit cards, but the perception remains that Google isn’t a leader when it comes to mobile payments. Perhaps that general perception will change later this week.

2 Responses to “Google Could Launch Mobile Payment Trials This Week”

  1. With the biggest 3 carriers teaming up with ISIS for NFC payments, Sprint was left out to be caught by Google for its NFC payment program. This new mobile payment service will mean that consumers will be able to pay for goods and redeem handsets via specially equipped NFC cash registers. With this update, I opine that iphone also will get itself NFC capable in future.