Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Smartphones to

AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are working on a program that could make smartphones a source of payment - taking the place of credit and debit cards, according to a report released last week by Bloomberg.

It’s reported that a pilot project is planned for stores in Atlanta and three other U.S. cities, where consumers can pay by simply waving their smartphone in front of a reader. No date has been set for when the project will commence, and Bloomberg’s “insiders” spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

The mobile carriers plan to partner with Discover Financial Services and Barclays Plc. Britain-based Barclays is the leading provider of contactless debit and credit cards in the U.K.

To utilize the contactless technology, merchants will have to spend about $200 per reader, and smartphones will need to be updated with a chip that’s expected to cost $10-$15. The chip will emit a short-range high-frequency radio wave and be able to communicate with the reader when waved within a few inches of it.

The technology is not new; “wave and pay” credit cards and key fobs have been in use since 1997. But combining contactless technology with a smartphone is the next logical step, according to insiders.

So how smart is a smartphone? Smartphones in the U.S. leave much to be desired; similar wave and pay smartphone services have already been in use in Europe and Asia for years.

The tech trail-blazing Japanese have smartphones in a league of their own. Not only can they use their smartphones for payments, but their phones can also function as personal identification, bus and airline tickets or passes, personal television, and remote home security by allowing them to set alarms, lock or unlock doors, and turn lights on and off while they are away.

Japanese smartphone users can even send their vital signs to their doctors without stepping foot into the doctor’s office, transfer money to other subscribers, and use their smartphones to monitor environmental readings such as air quality, air temperature, and the strength of UV rays.

For those who have embraced smartphone technology, their smartphone may have already replaced devices such as the PDA, personal gaming systems, mp3 and other music players, GPS navigators and compasses, even their personal computer.

Many American consumers would feel more lost if they forgot their smartphone than they would if they forgot their wallet. If the smartphone wave and pay project is successful in the U.S., it may eliminate the need to carry a wallet full of credit cards, and eventually the need to even carry a wallet at all.

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Thursday, 02 February 2023

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