Google is to run tests of mobile payments at stores in New York and San Francisco in the summer, according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg.
The search engine giant will pay for installation of thousands of NFC cash-register systems from VeriFone Systems at merchant locations, one source told the wire.
The leak follows reports yesterday that Apple is to pull back from equipping its next-generation of iPhones with NFC technology. The rumours have kickstarted a debate over Apple's long-term plans for mobile payments, and left the field open for competing systems from Google Android phones, card scheme operators and telecomms firms.
According to Bloomberg, the Google service may combine a consumer's financial account information, gift-card balances, store loyalty cards and coupon subscriptions on a single NFC chip on a phone.
Google reaffirmed its ambitions to become a power player in mobile payments in January by poaching PayPal's m-platform leader Osama Bedier. This followed an op-ed column by outgoing Google CEO Eric Schmidt that identified the development of mobile money platforms as a key strategic priority for the company in 2011.
Apple's retreat has been attributed to a lack of industry standards, firing speculation that the company will instead continue with its closed platform approach, ultimately striking a deal with card companies to route iTunes account-based payments from an iPhone through merchant terminals.