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Phones Will Someday Replace Wallets

Apple's Scott Forstall demonstrates the new applications of the Apple I-Phone during the Apple 2012 World Wide Development Conference (Getty Images)

Phones these days are taking over just about everything. You can use ‘em like a computer, you can take pictures and videos with them, you can get directions with them, you can text and tweet with them. Oh, and some people still use them to talk to other people. But pretty soon they’re going to replace your wallet.

It’s already being used extensively in other parts of the world, but this country always seems to be slow to catch on. It’s using your phone to pay for stuff. Which means someday you won’t need cash and you won’t need credit cards. All you’ll need is your phone.

I’m not sure how it works, but there are some apps out there where you don’t even have to pull out your phone. It works electronically. Just tell ‘em charge it to me and they tap it in and your phone vibrates to let you know your account has been charged.

This whole process won’t be easy. People, especially Americans are slow to change. And for retailers the new technology is an expensive investment, especially for the people who don’t want to move away from credit cards and cash.

There are some bugs to be worked out, but when that day happens it means credit cards and even cash will become obsolete.

At the front of the field in the technology is a company called Square. They’re the ones that introduced small plastic credit card readers that plug into smart phones. It lets small merchants like cabbies, music teachers, hairdressers and the like to take charge cards. Those little devices are now processing $6-billion in transactions a year.

The things these devices can do continues to expand, including offering discounts. Say you fly into a city and you feel like eating something in particular. Your smart phone can suggest a few places and offer discounts.


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