It seems like every month or so there’s news of some new plan to finally launch an NFC-based payment system. The networks, smartphone manufacturers, banking interests, and even the likes of Amazon have been said to have expressed interest in using NFC to somehow revolutionize retail sales by letting your smartphone act as the gatekeeper to your fiscal resources. Allegiances shift, plans change, and we still don’t have any strong contender for the dominant spot in the nascent field. If we’re to believe the latest rumor, as reported by Bloomberg, Google and Sprint could finally launch their NFC payment system this week in five major markets.
According to the rumor, attributed to a trio of anonymous sources, this Google/Sprint venture will be announced this Thursday, May 26. Supposedly, the first cities to be part of the program would be New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago. and Washington, D.C. For Google and Sprint, that means making sure that enough retailers have access to NFC-capable checkout hardware so that users interested in the program aren’t turned off by too many failed attempts to take advantage of it. Of course, you’ll also need an NFC-equipped phone like the Nexus S 4G, but we should be seeing more such models in the coming year.
We’ve heard rumors of separate NFC plans from both Google and Sprint, differing in who ends up paying for the service and how those costs are passed onto consumers. Just how this proposed system would function, we don’t quite know yet. Google’s got a press event on the calendar for Thursday in New York City, so hopefully we’ll learn more then.