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What Ever Happened To Paying With Your Cellphone?

CellpayEvery few months for the past few years I have been hearing about another company or association that wants you to be able to pay with your cellphone. In short you would just swipe your phone and your done. The problem is that it never really happens…

I just read an article in Reuters about new trial in London that lets shoppers buy Tube train tickets by swiping their phone. It made me ask myself why do we always get promises and trials but years later we still do not have any real world solutions in the US. The closes I have seen is the RFID built into the new credit cards from Mastercard, Visa, and American Express but even that is barely accepted anywhere. Couldn’t they put one of these micro RFID chips in the SIM card of your phone?

The interesting part is that cellphone payments have taken off in other parts of the world such as Japan. When I recently went to Israel I found some soda machines that would let you dial a number from your cellphone and make a payment of a dollar for a coke. That can be quite useful when you have no change in your pocket but you always have a phone .

This is why I think it would make sense to have mobile payments. Imagine being able to pay the parking meter with your cell? Or by a coke? Or a subway ride? I know many people that would pay a 5–10% overhead for the convenience every once in awhile because they simply hate to carry cash. What I do not understand is how cellphone companies have not jumped on this new source of income. They could make transaction fees on every purchase just like a credit company.

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