The New Stuff

Will That Be Cash, Charge, or Smartphone?

That's right! Checking out at the register is getting a whole lot smarter. In a nutshell, the idea is simple. Instead of pulling your wallet out and fishing around for your credit or debit card – or that paper stuff we used to carry called money – you simply swipe your cell phone that's probably already in your hand due to that oh so important tweet about Sarah’s new shoes you just received.

According to Juniper Research, by the year 2014, one in every six cell phone users will have the ability to make payments with their mobile phones. In fact, the three wireless giants; AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, teamed up to form a subscription service called Isis, allowing customers to pay with their smartphones, which will launch some time next year. Google is not about to be left out of the mix. The company reported plans to integrate software on their newest version of Android that will allow users to pay via an embedded chip.

Already, PayPal, which is a sector of Ebay, has established Bling Nation, tantamount to the debit/credit machines we commonly swipe our cards at next to the register. However, instead of a swipe, it will be a tap of the Bling chip – something the companies are calling the “easier solution to paying”. Yeah, because if you're like me, who had the time for all that swiping? Not to mention the bulging painful arm muscles after a good shopping spree!

USA Today reports that this Bling method of payment is currently accepted by merchants in San Francisco; Lamar and La Junta, Colorado; Clarksville, Tennessee; Saratoga Springs, New York; and Mount Pleasant, Texas. Furthermore, Bling has supposedly urged merchants to give incentives to Facebook members. Wow... there's an exclusive club.

All in all, I don't think anybody is shocked to see their phones as the future method of payment. I'm surprised it isn't already the standard method of payment. My question is, if you lose your phone in the future, do you lose your wallet too? Phones are certainly becoming an extension of various aspects of everyday life reaching far beyond a mere means of communication. I'm sure some day, we will be able to send them on dates because we'll have all this extra time that's no longer tied up in repetitive archaic swiping motions. Though, it makes you wonder if this changing tech-crazed world will make things more difficult on some level. We're making our devices smarter but, as far as I can see, no improvements on the person holding it. If you give a smartphone to a dumb person, what happens?

(Image from USA Today)

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