A trend that has been talked about for years in the US and has already been deployed in other parts of the world is finally coming stateside, as a flagship group of partners is starting to let customers pay for their purchases by just swiping their phone.
Mastercard and Visa have been dabbling in the so-called "contactless payment" market for a while. Step into McDonald's or take a cab in New York City and instead of swiping your credit or debit card you can simply wave the card over a special sensor to deduct the payment. Of course, you're still using the same card, but now that same kind of technology is coming to different devices.
All of the US's major carriers except Sprint are now working with retailers and some flagship cities in the country to incorporate a system that would allow smartphone users to just swipe their phone over a typical point-of-sale terminal instead of getting their card out of a wallet. Customers would actually pay through money stored on the phone.
The technology is there, and has been for a while, but getting stores, financial institutions, mobile carriers, and mobile hardware makers to come to a consensus on the terms has been a monumental task.
However, it is unmistakable that this trend of ditching the traditional credit card will only continue to grow.
Bank of America, for one, has tried a similarly convenient option by giving customers a keytag card that customers can use instead of their full-size credit card.
The three mobile carriers are reportedly in talks with Barclays (American Express) and Discover, along with four US cities, only one of which - Atlanta - has been specified. All have a vested interest in taking away some of the 82% of consumer spending that Visa and Mastercard currently take.
In Japan, mobile payments are becoming the norm. It is leading the way in this technology that is just now becoming realized in the US. Some supermarkets even have smart shopping carts that allow customers to plug their phone into the cart, create their shopping list on the phone, and the phone directs them to everything in the store while the payment is processed immediately through the phone.
It is only a matter of time before something like that makes its way stateside, unless we continue to have companies that cannot agree on mutual terms.
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