Smartphones have already replaced cameras, portable computers and MP3 players in the lives of many people. Soon they may replace another product, freeing up more space in pockets around the country. Bloomberg reports that AT&T, Verizon & T-Mobile are working with Discover Financial Services & Barclay Plc to find a way to allow smartphones to act as credit cards.
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This new system would allow you to swipe your phone in place of a traditional plastic card, something tech geeks have been dreaming about since the first PDAs hit the market. Mobile carriers are already well experienced with processing tons of payments. More than half of US consumer purchases are made with some form of card.
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Implementing this technology will not be cheap. Retailers will be forced to buy a $200 reader, and updating phones with the proper technology will add $10-$15 per unit. That is steep, but the gain in convenience makes it pretty much inevitable. People will nearly always choose to carry less.