Google's system is built on NFC technology preinstalled in Android smartphones, a cleaner integration of NFC technology than what many banks have used in trials.
Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, for example, are testing an add-on memory card with an embedded NFC antenna, provided by Visa Inc. and DeviceFidelity Inc. Wells Fargo is testing the memory card with 200 employees in San Francisco.
"It's a bridge technology," Ho said. "We've always intended it to be a bridge technology in the sense that … there would be NFC handsets in the market in the future."
Google, of Mountain View, Calif., is testing its wallet service in New York and San Francisco. It will initially allow consumers to make direct payments from certain MasterCard Inc. credit cards issued by Citigroup Inc., though it also offers a Google prepaid account that can be funded with any payment card.
Google said its goal is to add more banks, allowing consumers to potentially register any card they have currently. Other experts say that Google's size and its strength in paid search and advertising provide financial institutions with a much larger platform than what they could build themselves.
"The reality is this is a scale and execution play," said Philip Philliou, a partner with the consulting firm Philliou Partners LLC in New York.
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