Google prepares to get its Wallet out

Google has waved its Wallet about today, paving the way towards near-field payment systems that may ironically consign the traditional wallet to the dustbin of history and replace it with a mobile phone.

The Internet search outfit will be running its near-field payment service in conjunction with financial giants Mastercard, Citigroup, First Data and Sprint in two U.S. cities this summer the gang said today.

The app for Google's Android-based phones uses MasterCard's 'PayPass' technology, and will be used in anger in New York and San Francisco for the first time later this month. Google has a press conference lined up on May 26th in New York at which it is expected to show the technology in action.

Near-field, mobile-phone payments systems have got the big consumer tech companies in a frenzy, will dollar-signs flickering in their eyeballs. The technology is already well established in Japan where up to a-fifth of the population have joined up.

In the United States, the likes of Apple and the telcos as well as the banks and credit card companies are jostling for a piece of the pie

But Citigroup Mastercard users already in possession of PayPass-enabled cards are likely to be the first to waggle their phones in the direction of a till in order to pay for stuff using Google's service.