US retail giant Target is in the early stages of developing a service that will enable shoppers to pay for goods in its stores using their phones, said Reuters.

However, the fourth largest retailer in the US is yet to commit to a commercial deployment of the service.

Sources said if the launch did go ahead it could happen as soon as 2016.

Any Target service will compete for users with the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google in what is becoming a crowded marketplace in the US.

It is not the only retailer eyeing its own payment service. Rival Walmart launched an offering for its shoppers earlier this month.

According to sources, Target has chosen to partner with credit card firms for its proposed service, rather than attempt to use its service to subvert them.

It will also use scanning technology at the point of sale. Its technology sounds similar to that used by Walmart’s service, which is based on QR codes rather than NFC.

Both Walmart and Target are also involved in the CurrentC project, a US retailer-backed initiative. However, CurrentC is moving slowly and it appears both companies are now working on their own initiatives.