The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google has begun working with Mastercard and Citigroup to make NFC mobile payments a reality. NFC, or near-field communication, was touted by Eric Schmidt back in December of last year when Google's flagship device, the Nexus S, was announced. The contact-less payment system would allow customers to simply tap or wave their NFC supported mobile device to make payments at stores that support the new technology. Retail giant, Wal-Mart, has also confirmed that they have met with Google to begin preliminary discussions about the new tech.
Additionally, VeriFone Systems is working to bring more contact-less supported readers to merchants. Contact-less payment machines and credit cards have been around for years now, but most consumers aren't aware of it -- and if they are, most have concerns about sending confidential information over the air. "Because it's contact-less there's a perception people can grab it from thin air, but it's actually a more sophisticated technology than credit cards with a magnetic stripe, making it more difficult to steal a consumer's payment information," said Nick Holland, a mobile-transactions analyst at Yankee Group.
Interestingly enough, just last week at CTIA's annual event, none of the phones announced sports NFC. If Google and credit card companies are moving forward with this, who's making the devices? And when? Not everyone has a Nexus S, you know. Or maybe, this whole thing is just too far off from becoming mainstream and OEMs are just waiting? What do you guys and gals think? [The Wall Street Journal]