Mobile money is inevitable, as people realise they can carry gigabytes of information around in a slim smartphone – so it’s stupid to have a whole other card just for one number. Companies hoping to incorporate credit cards into mobile phones have run into all kinds of complications, but we can all relax because Google have announced they’re doing it. So it’s going to happen.
CEO Eric Schmidt casually pulled out an “unannounced product” at a San Francisco web summit, an extremely anonymous touch-screen phone armed with near field communication (NFC) technology. This can be used for tap-and-pay transactions, turning your phone into an instant-access wallet with all the speed of an electronic security card and all the convenience of a credit card.
The real challenge for all the rival systems has been getting companies to take it up – the businesses don’t want the hassle until there are customers, and customers certainly won’t bother with the card until businesses will accept them. But this is Google. They mapped the world with street view photos because they felt like it, and that includes parts of Antarctica.
Now the big boys are working on it, we can look forward to phone-wallets. And that’s one less thing to carry. Or for the glass-is-half-empty souls, one more reason losing your phone will suck.