Column: Leave your wallet at home

Monique Bushnell-RiceWell, we aren’t completely there, but mobile payment is quickly becoming one of the hottest technologies that consumers and merchants are chomping at the bit at to integrate into their everyday lives.

Also known as mobile wallet, mobile payment is another way to pay instead of using cash, plastic or check. Not to be confused with online banking, which allows users to pay bills and manage personal accounts over the Internet, mobile payment allows consumers to use their mobile device to pay for a wide range of services in person by merely waving their smartphone near or tapping on a reader. The secured account, similar to the service PayPal, is attached to your credt card or bank account information.

The secret to making this wireless, close proximity data exchange work is something called Near Field Communication (NFC). But while NFC technology is currently being embedded into the latest smartphones, the demand far exceeds the supply at this point.

Case in point: According to Wikipedia, by 2013 the market for all types of mobile payments is expected to exceed $600 billion – that’s double the figure we’re at today.

From the consumer end, the most used payment app on the market today is PayPal. However, Google Wallet, which uses NFC technology, is hot on its heels. Currently, Google Wallet is accepted by a number of major retailers including Toys “R” Us, Walgreens and Jamba Juice. It also works at participating Mastercard PayPass merchants including Petco, WinCo Foods, Home Depot, Office Depot, Target, Best Buy, Fred Meyer, 7-Eleven and even Jack in the Box and McDonald’s.

Personally, I wish NFC technology would hurry up and be widely accepted by banking institutions. I understand that everything must be secure (and I obviously have a vested interest in that), but it’s to their benefit to get on board ASAP. 

I mean think about it, do you spend more money when you have your debit card or credit card handy or when you carry cash with you? Maybe it’s just me, but I never carry cash and I always use my card. And if I could not carry a wallet or purse, I would be in heaven. Primarily, because my husband and kids throw all their stuff in my purse and that’s likely the reason I have shoulder problems today.

Monique Bushnell-Rice is the sales director and part owner for Effective Web Solutions (EWS), a Vancouver-based company that specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and management as well as website design. EWS can be reached at 360.562.0535.

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