Google Making NFC Payments Push in NY and SF

An article in Bloomberg this morning says that Google is working with VeriFone and select retailers to test NFC-based mobile payments at stores in New York and San Francisco:

The company will pay for installation of thousands of special cash-register systems from VeriFone Systems Inc. (PAY) at merchant locations, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because Google’s plans haven’t been made public. The registers would accept payments from mobile phones equipped with so-called near-field-communication technology.

The project would put Google in a growing field of companies experimenting with NFC, which lets consumers pay for products and services by tapping a device against a register at checkout, giving them an alternative to cash or physical credit cards. The Google service may combine a consumer’s financial account information, gift-card balances, store loyalty cards and coupon subscriptions on a single NFC chip on a phone.

Because of a lack of universally accepted standards Apple has apparently decided against including NFC technology in the iPhone 5. Apple has 200 million credit card accounts on file and could become a major player in mobile payments if it decides to. Google has far fewer credit cards in Checkout, its payments platform, but the company can leverage its growing Android user base. 

Google's would be the first major test of NFC mobile payments in the US. Starbucks has rolled out a mobile payments app across its stores in the US; however it doesn't rely on NFC technology. There are various NFC roll outs now going on in Europe

US carriers and credit card issuers are also seeking to be major mobile payments providers. So are eBay/PayPal as well as a range of startups including Boku, Zong, Square and Bling Nation.

Beyond payments, NFC would support a range of marketing capabilities, not unlike QR codes today only more versatile. Beyond this Google would be able to capture a range of consumer data, including purchase behavior, that would be incredibly valuable to marketers and that Google itself could use to optimize and advantage its various advertising platforms. 

In-stat has projected that mobile payment users around the globe will surpass 375 million by 2015. 

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