Although you may not have noticed it yet, smart phones are quickly transforming into the wallets of the future. Nearly 60% of all American adults now owns smart phones and almost 40% use them exclusively to surf the web. Smartphones are being used to do practically everything these days from taking pictures to listening to music, sending emails and getting directions. It was only a matter of time until we started using them to pay for lunch or to pay friends and family that we owed money.
It’s estimated that Americans will pay nearly $40 billion in payments using their smart phones this year, a number that’s expected to grow to $1.3 trillion by 2017. Google and eBay already have a strong showing in the mobile payment market and quite a few other small and large companies are making plans to take advantage of the trend.
While we’re not going to debate the safety and security of using your smart phone like a credit card, the fact is that it’s already happening and if you’re keen on paying for your Starbucks Double Cappuccino with your smart phone here are 4 excellent Apps that will help you do it. Enjoy
App 1 – Google Wallet. If you have a Google or Gmail account you can link it to your bank account and, when it comes time to pay, simply touch your phone to the cash register in whatever retail establishment you happen to be. Gmail has just introduced a “button” that you can use to send money to a friend or family member, just like a bank transfer. For the time being Google isn’t charging merchants for this privilege but they are planning on making money off of targeted ads in the near future. Also, there are of limited number of stores that will currently let you do this but that number is sure to grow.
App 2 – Venmo. With Venmo you also need to attach your bank account to the app so that you can send and receive money and make mobile to mobile payments. One of the “pluses” of this app is that your payments will actually show up in your “newsfeed” so that all of your “friends” will see it. (Your opinion of whether or not this is a “plus” may vary.)
App 3 – Clinkle. Although it actually hasn’t even been released yet, Clinkle has sparked tremendous interest in mobile payments. In fact, there’s already a waiting list of over 100,000 people that can’t wait to get their hands on this hot, new and completely untested App. With Richard Branson behind it and $25 million in funding we expect that it’s going to be the “next big thing” in mobile payments. How does it work? Is it safe? As soon as it’s released we’ll get back to you.
App 4 – Square. Square Wallet is an app that lets you sign up to be on a database and, when you are in front of the cashier at the cash register, all you have to do is say your name and they’ll find you in the database and charge your account. This happens along with a pop-up photo of you on the cashier’s screen so that they can easily confirm your identity. Most people know Square because of their “Square Register” smart phone accessory. Once attached through the audio jack of an iPhone or iPad a small business owner can use the accessory to accept credit card payments right on the spot, one of the things that actually gave mobile payments a big push when it came out.
Convenience is the number one reason that mobile payment services are on the rise and, as more and more smart phones are created and the technology improves, corporations that people trust are starting to jump into the fray. Most analysts predict that in the next year or two you going to see mobile payments absolutely explode and, if you’re a fan of offer convenience, one of the 4 Apps above is a great place to start.
As we said we’re not going to debate whether or not these mobile payment Apps are safe from hackers and thieves but, as with anything that has to do with your finances, make sure you do your research and due diligence to make sure what your liability might be if someone does hack in and steal your money.