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Report: Google one step closer to mobile payments

Google has entered a partnership with MasterCard and Citigroup that would let credit and debit cardholders pay with their Android smartphones instead, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Google is partnering with MasterCard and Citigroup to deliver a mobile-payment service to Android smartphones, according to a report.

Citing anonymous sources, The Wall Street Journal reports that Google will allow people with debit and credit cards from the two financial giants to turn on an app and pay for a purchase from their smartphones. At no point would they need to take those cards out of their wallets to make a purchase.

The Nexus S Android phone is equipped with NFC abilities. Samsung

Google plans to launch the program later this year, according to today's article.

The Journal report follows an earlier claim via Bloomberg that Google will deliver a mobile-payment service in the next few months. The Bloomberg article said Google is planning to pay for "thousands" of installations of near-field communication systems (NFC) around New York City and San Francisco as part of a test. When consumers buy products where one of the systems is installed, they will need only to hold their devices up to the reader to make a purchase, Bloomberg said.

Google has yet to unveil a "mobile wallet" that would go along with its NFC service, but a report that surfaced earlier this year claimed the company was working on a platform code-named "Cream" that would deliver the ability to make payments from NFC-enabled Android devices.

The company's NFC plans are very much up in the air for now. According to The Wall Street Journal's sources, Google will look to expand its partnerships with other financial institutions. However, that will only happen if its first test is successful.

Google did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.