Use Your Phone To Pay

Steve Marr

Companies are continuously striving to make buying easier. Google has taken another step in easing the way to spend money by introducing Google Wallet, a mobile app letting you literally pay for purchases with your phone.  The app places a chip in your phone tied to a credit card or prepaid Google card that allows you to waive your phone over a payment station, use a four digit pass code and pay for a transaction.  The cost of the app is $50.00, after a mail in rebate with Nexus S 4G phones. 

Today, while new technology and easy to use there are several issues with this service.

First, only the Nexus S 4 G can be used in the United States, although in the future other phones will want to add the service. 

Second, the merchant must use MasterCards PayPass system, and currently only 150,000 U.S. merchants use the system.

Third, Citi MasterCard is currently the only credit card that can be directly added to Google Wallet. However, Google offers a prepaid card can be loaded with other credit cards and Google reports the app will also work with Visa, American Express and Discover cards in the future.

Other companies are planning their own phone-payment solutions. PayPal will  launch a pilot program at the end of this year for a cloud wallet, usable by entering a phone number and a PIN at the register and Square has launched Square Card Case, a free app available on Android and iPhone that works on the idea of paying with virtual tabs, like starting a tab at a store. Both ideas from PayPal and Square would skip the need for phones with NFC chips.

In the future Google will offer to store loyalty information in the app, allowing you to get the discounts without carrying all those cards. In addition, you would be able search and download coupons on Google and use those coupons when you buy.

Over time, I believe this application will spread. Merchants are always looking for easier ways to accept payment. Impulse buying may increase. Also, the check out system will be faster when customers waive the phone rather then process a traditional credit card saving merchants time and money.  

One trap is for you if you use the Google Wallet is the tendency to over spend. The easier we can spend, the more we tend to spend. If this becomes a problem rather then a blessing for you, stop using the app. One way to use the Google Wallet is to use Goggles prepaid feature as a reserve, buy $300 to $500 for your I phone account  and utilize as back up funds if you run short of cash.

This is one innovation that will help boost sales and we need to embrace this technology as a way to better serve customers. King Solomon wrote “…How long will you fools fight the facts?” (Proverbs 1:22 NLT). In this instance, don’t fight the facts.

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach

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