The company said it was trialling the Google Wallet system with retailers and a trio of payment card companies, and planned to release it to the public soon.
Google said the system would combine a payment platform for consumers with marketing tools for retailers.
“Google Wallet is a key part of our ongoing effort to improve shopping for both businesses and consumers,” Rob von Behren and Jonathan Wall, engineers on the project, wrote in a company blog.
“It’s aimed at making it easier for you to pay for and save on the goods you want, while giving merchants more ways to offer coupons and loyalty programs to customers, as well as bridging the gap between online and offline commerce.”
The company said phone owners would be able to store credit cards, offers, loyalty and gift cards, and claimed that “someday even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet”.
It would make losing your handset a nightmare, but Google said it would address security issues through a PIN code that must be entered before making a purchase to prevent unauthorised access and payments.
The company touted the launch as the beginning of “an open commerce ecosystem”, with plans to develop APIs that would enable integration with numerous partners.
However, big question marks remain, such as the fact that the payments system doesn’t work when mobile phone batteries are flat – a regular occurrence with current handsets.
Android 2.3 (“Gingerbread”) supports NFC natively, with Google’s Nexus S, developed by Samsung, an early adopter. The hotly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S II also supports it, although the company has stated it will not be included in the Australian version of the phone (for now).
"The company is closely monitoring local application and demand for NFC technology and is ready to release NFC-enabled handsets into the Australian market at the appropriate time," Samsung said in a statement. The announcement from Google should certainly speed up its introduction.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk