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Android phone. Photo via Shutterstock.
Android phone. Photo via Shutterstock.

At its I/O developer conference, Google today announced Android Pay, a new mobile payment system for its operating system that lets people purchase items with their smartphone.

The new system uses NFC technology to enable tap-to-pay transactions at more than 700,000 retailers across the U.S. that have NFC-equipped registers. Your debit or credit card numbers won’t be shared with merchants, as Android Pay uses a virtual account number for each transaction.

The process is simple: Unlock your phone, hold it in front of an NFC terminal, and within seconds, the payment is complete.

In addition to the retailers, Google is partnering with Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express for Android Pay. It also signed deals with T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon.

Developers will also be able to use Android Pay to enable payments within their own app.

Android Pay is very similar to Apple Pay, the mobile payment system Apple launched this past fall. It follows Google Wallet, the company’s first mobile payment software that debuted in 2011 but didn’t quite catch on.

Android Pay will be available in the coming months for smartphones with Android 4.4 KitKat or higher.

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