Remember cash? What happened to using that? Before the rise of credit cards, many stores only accepted cash (McDonald's was one of them!) Right now, though, credit cards are so pervasive that it's hard to imagine a consumer world with out them. But, things are changing.
Ask any fashion conscious female about one of the biggest pains-in-the-neck she faces and you'll undoubtedly hear about the burden of switching hand bags. Because, obviously, not every bag works with every outfit, our fashion conscious friends have to swap them on a regular basis. What comes with swapping? Organizing the wallet, getting credit cards, gift cards, library cards (?) in order, throwing away receipts, and doing who knows what else. Imagine, though, if that whole process could be eliminated and one could simply drop an iPhone into a different bag, knowing everything one could need was on it.
If a few companies have their way, that idea could become a reality. We may no longer even need to carry credit cards. Soon, we'll be welcoming the idea of having an empty wallet.
It's a fact, people love donuts. Looking to make us love donuts even more, Dunkin Donuts recently revealed their official Dunkin Donuts App. As the official press release says:
With the new Dunkin’ App, paying for food, beverages, and merchandise at Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants throughout the U.S. is as simple and speedy as scanning your smartphone using a mobile Dunkin’ Donuts Card in-store or at the drive-thru.
What's that? We won't even need to carry our wallet to purchase sweet, delicious donuts and coffee anymore? Count us in! We always have our iPhones on us, so it makes sense that Dunkin Donuts would take advantage of our habit. Dunkin's Chief of Global Marketing and Innovation, John Costello, is clearly on the same page as us and we appreciate it: "We know that our guests rely on their mobile devices now more than ever, and we are glad to provide them with this exciting new service in a way that is uniquely Dunkin."
Many smartphones these days have built in technology to help make the credit card-less wallets even more of a possibility. The technology is called NFC (Near Field Communication) and it basically turns your phone into a radio transmitter, compatible with any near by sensor. Though Dunkin Donuts' app is an awesome innovation, in some ways, there has been an NFC-based alternative for some time now! Certain retailers have had stations for Google Wallet installed in recent months, turning NFC-enabled smartphones into a credit cards. How cool is that?
It would seem then that the only thing holding back the "wallet-less revolution" would be the amount of NFC-enabled smartphones and installations of compatible "swipe stations" in retail stores. Luckily, the coming iPhone 5 is rumored to have a NFC chip in it, putting the power of a virtual wallet into the palm of a new generation of smartphone users. We'll see...wouldn't that be great?
But, for now, what other credit card-less solutions are available to us? Much like Dunkin Donuts' effort to bring payment to the mobile sphere, the coffee giant, Starbucks, recently announced a partnership with mobile payment technology, Square. What does this mean for Starbucks customers? According to The New York Times report, things are about to get futuristic!
At first, Starbucks customers will need to show the merchant a bar code on their phones. But when Starbucks uses Square’s full GPS technology, the customer’s phone will automatically notify the store that the customer has entered, and the customer’s name and photo will pop up on the cashier’s screen. The customer will give the merchant his or her name, Starbucks will match the photo and the payment will be complete.
Notice a trend here? Again, this technology means we won't need our wallets in the future! What a strange thing to think about. What if wallets just became places to store driver's licenses? Hey, while we're at it, maybe even those could be stored on a smartphone too!
You can be sure the new technology will come with its share of naysayers. Naysayers aside, this technology could also present a few challenges, though. What if your smartphone's battery runs dry when you really, really had your heart set on buying an Orange Mocha Frappuccio and you weren't carrying a wallet or credit card? First of all, this would be silly. But, in reality, relying on smartphone batteries could turn into somewhat of an issue for those hoping to go completely wallet-less.
What do you think? Would you ditch the wallet? Would you leave your credit cards at home if you knew that your iPhone alone could suffice?
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