Google is teaming up with MasterCard and Citigroup 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, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday citing 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 is not 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.

These phone users also would be able to get targeted ads or discount offers, which Google hopes to sell to local merchants. They also could manage credit card accounts and track spending through an application on their smartphone, the people said.

The venture also involves VeriFone Systems Inc., which makes credit card readers for cash registers. VeriFone would roll out more so-called contact-less devices, or readers that enable consumers to pay with a wave or tap of a credit or debit card. The readers also would allow people to pay by tapping their smartphones, said the people familiar with the matter.