Google tipped to launch NFC payment trials

Anonymous sources claim that Google is forging ahead with its trials of Near-Field Communication payment technology in the U.S., partnering with VeriFone to install thousands of NFC-compatible terminals throughout Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

According to unnamed sources close to the project quoted by Bloomberg, Google is to install NFC-equipped cash registers from VeriFone in thousands of stores in the U.S. in order to trial mobile-based payments - thought by many analysts to be the next big growth area in consumer banking.

The NFC market was dealt a blow recently with the news that, despite rumours to the contrary, Apple would not be building the short-range radio technology into its upcoming iPhone 5 - adopting a wait-and-see approach due, sources claimed, to a lack of industry-wide standards.

Google, however, already has NFC hardware in its flagship Nexus S Android-powered smartphone, manufactured on the company's behalf by Samsung. The hardware isn't much use without widespread NFC adoption, however - which lends weight to the claims of Bloomberg's sources.

While earlier reports claimed that Google was looking to develop its own NFC payment gateway technology in order to nab itself as big a slice of the pie as possible, the current trials are said to use technology bought in from mobile payment specialist ViVOtech.

Google, for its part, refuses to confirm or deny the claims - but with the company already having bet on NFC technology taking off, it would be amazing if it wasn't working hard to ensure that outcome.