Google's Gingerbread (Android 2.3) offers near field communication (NFC) support, which can be used for both "contactless payments" and marketing purposes.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google has teamed up with MasterCard and Citigroup (and POS company VeriFone) on NFC and mobile payments.
With the deal, Google is looking to boost its local advertising business and "offer retailers more data about their customers and help them target ads and discount offers to mobile-device users near their stores." Here's what the WSJ said:
The Internet giant is aiming to make mobile payments easier in a bid to boost its advertising business. The planned payment system would allow Google to offer retailers more data about their customers and help them target ads and discount offers to mobile-device users near their stores, these people said. Google isn't expected to get a cut of the transaction fees . . .
These phone users also would be able to get targeted ads or discount offers, which Google hopes to sell to local merchants. They also could manage credit-card accounts and track spending through an application on their smartphone, the people said.
This move is aimed at making paid search more attractive to advertisers, especially local advertisers, by demonstrating ROI in addition to analytics.
With NFC, consumers who've a Citigroup-issued credit card or MasterCard can enable an mobile payment app and wave their phone in front of an electronic reader when checking out at a store. Contact-less payments are made possible by VeriFone, which makes special readers for mobile NFC payments.