Google recently announced it has begun conducting field trials of a new app that essentially turns a person's smartphone into a debit or credit card.

Aptly named Google Wallet, the app utilizes near-field communication technology to enable users to make purchases with their smartphones, rather than having to whip out a fat wad of cash.

Google noted that the app has the potential to "do more than a regular wallet ever could," because it can be used to store coupons, loyalty cards and gifts cards that many consumers may not otherwise be inclined to carry. Additionally, Google said, one day the technology could be used to store boarding passes or forms of ID.

Initially, the app will only be compatible with the Nexus S 4G from Sprint and will support Citi MasterCard and Google Prepaid Card. However, the company said it will eventually expand its partnerships.

Near-field communication is one technology that is seeing greater demand for smartphone and mobile phone accessories. Rumors have surfaced in recent months that Apple and Research In Motion also plan to incorporate the technology in upcoming devices.