Google is working with Citigroup and Mastercard on a mobile payment system for its Android handsets, according to reports.
The Wall Street Journal said the deal and related technology were still in its early stages, but cited sources as saying the system would let shoppers wave their handsets in front of a wireless reader at the checkout counter.
Increasing numbers of mobile phones have near-field communication facilities, which retailers and card companies hope to exploit, despite security concerns.
Under the terms of the deal, Google would not be expected to take a slice of the payment, but would use the data from transactions to build up a better picture of a consumer's spending habits, which would prove invaluable to retail advertisers.
The scheme would start with holders of Citigroup-issued debit and credit cards being able to use the service by activating a mobile payment application developed for a handset
Software for other handsets could quickly be spun out in future.