November 25, 2020

Technology is turning a communication device into a payment system

What do you get when you add “contactless” credit abilities to your cell phone? A single device for making calls and credit card purchases. You yak, you wave, you buy.

Credit cards that use contactless technology are already becoming familiar to consumers through devices such as the Mobil Speedpass. You make purchases simply by waving such devices in front of contactless readers wherever you find them. Credit issuers want to add the technology to your mobile phone, so you can scan it, too.

Credit-enabled phones, while years away in the United States, are already in widespread use elsewhere. In Korea, for example, cell phone users can wave phones at a machine and authorize a transaction of a few Korean wons for a bottle of soda.

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