News / Science & Technology

With Instant-Pay Apps, Wallets Can Stay Home

Ted Landphair
A lot of people gave up carrying much cash a long time ago, since they knew “plastic” - a credit or debit card, or a store or public transit “smart card” - would be accepted just about everywhere.

But to hear tech companies tell it, plastic cards will be museum pieces as well before long.
Smartphone online payment apps could soon make wallets, and plastic credit cards, obsolete. (denharsh, Flickr Creative Commons)Smartphone online payment apps could soon make wallets, and plastic credit cards, obsolete. (denharsh, Flickr Creative Commons)
x
Smartphone online payment apps could soon make wallets, and plastic credit cards, obsolete. (denharsh, Flickr Creative Commons)
Smartphone online payment apps could soon make wallets, and plastic credit cards, obsolete. (denharsh, Flickr Creative Commons)

It’s all because young people, in particular, love their mobile devices so much - and despise the time-wasting process of digging out a credit card, presenting it to a clerk or swiping it on a card reader, waiting for the sale to be approved, then writing their signatures on a paper receipt or the reader.

It’s all so 20th Century.

So companies such as Google developed technology that allows customers to simply wave their phones against a reader. It instantly picks up the product and your account information, confirms the sale, and sends a receipt to your phone.  

The idea has come so far that technology inside some stores - or even on the street near one - can detect that your handheld phone or other device is in the area and send you quick messages, telling you about sales or special discounts.  

And all that’s getting a run from an even newer application, called “Card Case,” devised by the payments company Square. With it, you walk into a store, or pass a vendor on the street who has the right technology, and see something you’d like to buy.  

You simply give the salesperson your name, and he or she calls it up on a small screen. If the picture there matches you, the device instantly checks your balance and approves the sale, and the item is yours. No swiping. No signing. No receipt. The details of the transaction show up on your phone.

“In one case, I walked into Pinkie’s Bakery [in San Francisco] and asked for a cupcake,” tech writer Farhad Manjoo wrote in the online magazine Slate.  

“The cashier told me my total, and I said, ‘Put it on Farhad’s tab.’  She saw my name and photo on her iPad, tapped it, and I was done.  The experience was magical - almost creepy.”

“Bye-bye, Wallets,” wrote Time magazine when reviewing this trend last month. Its technology writer, Harry McCracken, went a whole week without carrying one.  

Or almost a whole week. At a baseball game, his “Google Wallet” payment app wouldn’t work. Since he had no physical wallet he was, he wrote, “reduced to begging [my] wife for beer.”

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Photogallery UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid