Google Sets Role in Mobile Payment

Google Inc. is teaming up with MasterCard Inc. and Citigroup Inc. to embed technology in Android mobile devices that would allow consumers to make purchases by waving their smartphones in front of a small reader at the checkout counter, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Internet giant is aiming to make mobile payments easier in a bid to boost its advertising business. The planned payment system would allow Google to offer retailers more data about their customers and help them target ads and discount offers to mobile-device users near their stores, these people said. Google isn’t expected to get a cut of the transaction fees.

The project, which is in its early stages, would allow holders of Citigroup-issued debit and credit cards to pay for purchases by activating a mobile-payment application developed for one current model and many coming models of Android phones. The idea is to turn the phones into a kind of electronic wallet.

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