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Ovation: Mobile Payment Technology Is On The Move.


My grandfather carried a huge wallet in his back pocket.  In it, he must have kept every receipt for every purchase with notes jotted on the back of each and every one.  I think he carried every picture of us grandchildren that he was ever given.  The driver’s seat in his car had a divot from where he sat, he would leave marks on piano benches and his back must have sometimes hurt.  Loved ones would buy him new wallets for birthdays and Christmases but he would rarely use them.  Once his wallet had conformed to his hinder, he’d use rubber bands to hold it together before he’d stop carrying his important papers with him everywhere he went.

Soon, wallets may become a thing of the past as smartphones quickly take their place.  Several major retailers plan to launch mobile “apps” to accept payment from customers.  The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) network announced yesterday will be available on most smartphones and will eliminate the need to carry credit cards.  A simple swipe of your smart phone at checkout time will move payment from your account to theirs.  Technology known as “near-field communication” will allow radio communication between smartphones and other devices such as cash registers that are in close proximity without touching.

Google Wallet was introduced last year and Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile are jointly launching a competitor to be called Isis which could launch as soon as this month in test markets.  The mobile payment market is already a huge industry.  Worldwide mobile payment transactions are expected to total more than $171 billion in 2012.

Those in favor of mobile payment methods insist the technology is secure and that lost credit card information can be erased more quickly.  But privacy experts and the Federal Communications Commission have called for more studies.

I haven’t worn a wristwatch since I got my first cell phone years and years ago and I won’t be surprised if I, eventually, stop carrying a wallet, too.  I don’t imagine I’ll be one of the first to jump on the mobile payment bandwagon (I refused to pay bills online for years once the technology became available), but I’m sure I’ll eventually go with the flow.  I’ll never have to worry about scratching a piano bench in old age.

Are you excited about mobile payment options?

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Copyright © 2012

From → Ovations

  1. I wera a watch and I carry a wallet.

    I’m a relic.


  2. Anonymous permalink

    Hmmm. Let’s say customer #1 is checking out. Customer #2 is in line, with the phone on, jabbering to someone. How will the cash register know NOT to read customer #2 “phone”, and charge that phone for customer # 1’s purchase???


  3. We use “Pay with Square” in my business. There’s an app where people, upon time for payment, identify themselves by name. We look them up via geolocation through their smartphone, match their name and photo, and apply the payment. If it’s over a certain dollar amount, they have to sign/PIN still. I love it. I can’t wait for more businesses to do it.

    As for the near-field communication option, the device has to be within a few centimeters (the current spec only allows for a maximum of 4cm) to validate and process the payment.


    • Cool. Nice to hear from someone who uses this technology. I’m amazed by the fact that nobody makes us sign for credit card purchases anymore. They don’t even check IDs. For example, you can use someone else’s credit card at any Walgreen’s for a purchase under $50 and you won’t be questioned. I think this new technology will eliminate more problems than it creates.


      • I’m ready to see it happen. I despise carrying a wallet. My cellphone case actually has a slot where I can put a few cards in it, so I tend to not carry a wallet much these days anyway.


  4. Watches are making a huge comeback – just look at the teens.

    Apple stores already let you pay with your phone using an app and pioneered the technology for hand held registers and emailing receipts.

    I did open a second debit card account for online vs in store use. I feel it gives me greater security. I look forward to using cell phones for payments but will be cautious. I have already replaced many of my “loyalty’ cards with an app that scans and stores them. It only works for scanned cards and not mag strips and not all stores bar code readers are able to use my stored card but the day I can stop carrying these around cannot come soon enough.


    • Sounds like you’re way ahead of the game. I can’t stand all the rewards cards in my wallet. I tried an app to consolidate them but they didn’t seem to work. The whole concept annoys me to begin with ( and I try to avoid places that require their use.


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