Okay, so there is no denying that cell phones, however rampant, helpful, or annoying they may be, are here to stay. And, did you think that cell phone companies would stop with simply allowing you to take pictures, check your email, text message, and who knows what else? No way. Cell phones are perhaps the most common and accessible technology available, and credit lenders are tapping into America’s love and never-leave-home-without-it sentiment for mobile phones with a new way to charge your purchases.
Imagine approaching the Macy’s counter to purchase a new pair of shoes. Don’t imagine fumbling in your purse to retrieve your favorite credit card. Instead, imagine telling your Mom (who you are chatting with) to hold on while you simply wave your cell phone into the cash register’s scanner. Yes, folks, this is the new way to use your plastic.
Dubbed “contact-less payment,” this technology uses radio-frequency identification and near-field communications to transfer your credit card account information from a chip embedded in your trusty cell phone to a merchant"s point-of-sale terminal. With a brief wave “hello” from your cell phone to the cash register, the two connect and your transaction is finalized in seconds. As a result, you will no longer have to concern yourself with digging your wallet out of your pocket or purse and will no longer have to swipe, wait, and sign. With just a quick flash of your phone, you and your new shoes are out the door.
Don’t worry; your credit card won’t be obsolete. For instance, your cell phone doesn’t fit into ATM machines (at least not yet) and less sophisticated stores may not have the wireless technology necessary for this new way of paying with plastic. If all of this sounds totally crazy, don’t panic, credit lenders are willing to ease us into this technology. Within the next two years, it is expected that most credit card issuers will provide credit cards with the embedded radio-frequency chip.
While this could be really cool, it kind of leaves you wondering: what in the world is next?