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Using Cell Phones to Make Payments

According to today’s embedded ABC News video, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are working together on a project that turns cell phones into a method of payment. People will soon be able to make a payment by scanning their cell phones at a cash register, as what they would have sliced their credit cards. How cool it is!

Another update comes from Starbucks and Target. Customers can make a payment with a mobile payment app on their smart phones in Starbucks and Target Stores. To use this app in Starbucks, for example, customers need to download the Starbucks Card mobile app and load money on it with a credit card. A payment is made when a cashier scans the bar code shown on a smart phone’s screen.

As expected, 50% cell phone users in the U.S. will use smart phones by the end of 2011. Today’s news updates confirm the importance of mobile devices in business. Very soon, we may not need to carry anything but cell phones when we go out because cell phones can now be used as hotel room keys, coupons, and a means of payment. What other things can a cell phone do? Or, shall I be more futuristic and ask, is there anything that a cell phone cannot do?

Medill Report: (Picture was also downloaded from this site)


  1. Being someone that uses a smart phone and who is completely attached to it, I understand the fascinating and almost outrageous things it is capable of doing. A phone is not used for calling anymore, it used for almost everything but that. Texting, instant messaging, web browsing, a music player are just a few of the amazing things smart phones could do. Now, with all of these high tech and new options, new applications on cell phones are making it easier to do, well basically anything.

    I do believe in the future that these high tech ideas will be available, but when you think about it, are they necessarily a good thing? Is paying from your phone or having bank accounts, store accounts,etc. stored on your phone a safe thing? if someone loses their phone and has these applications downloaded it is simply the easiest thing ever for a person to pick it up, go to a store and use that phone to purchase whatever they want. I am a firm believe in advanced technology but I also believe that these advanced applications will just help lead to more idenity theft and crime.

  2. Jacqueline Bath
    I believe smart phones are the new upcoming way to multitask. When walking around campus I notice that most of the students are on their blackberries. Many do not even look where they are walking because they are so distracted by their phones. Smart phones are a part of us, especially the ‘millennials’. I think it is a great idea to start using phones as a means to purchase items and make payments. No matter where you look someone will be on their smart phone because it is able to do so many tasks. Therefore, in the upcoming years I believe smart phones will be able to do many of the daily chores and tasks that we accomplish throughout our day. I think our generation will ease into paying with smart phones. It will not be a big change for us. However, my question is about losing a smart phone. My friends are always misplacing or losing their phones. If smart phones are the future ways to make payments, all of our information will be on them. Therefore, if one was to lose their smart phone it would be very easy for someone to invade their privacy. It may become too stressful to put a lot of personal information on a phone.

  3. I depend on my smart phone almost as if it were an appendage. My life would be greatly altered if I didn't have my phone to check my bank accounts, respond to and check emails, get directions, just to name a few of its numerous functions. I am definitely amazed by the number and assortments of apps out there and I think the possibilities of technology are almost endless.

    However, I agree with Nicole and Jacqueline; how safe is it to have a phone that contains so much personal information? If this is the way our technology is moving we need to ensure that stricter privacy measures are taken to protect smartphone owners.

    I read somewhere that Apple was contemplating a new feature for iPhones that would replace the traditional pass-code entry with fingerprint scanning technology already found on some personal computers. I am unaware of how likely it is that this security feature will be added to mobile devices, however I think it's a great idea. I would be much more inclined to take advantage of these types of apps if I knew no one would be able to access my phone in the event of it being lost or stolen. I am in favor of "do-it-all" apps as long as my financial and personal privacy isn't compromised.

  4. You all made a very good point here. As a matter of fact, the biggest concern regarding smart phones today is its lack of "protection." Warning has been raised to prevent hackers from accessing personal data in smart phones. Security issues of smart phones have become one of the hottest topics.

  5. I am probably one of the few people that doesn’t have a smart phone, but I definitely think smart phones are going to become a necessity or requirement by the end of this year. They are one of the fastest ways to get a hold any type of information at any given time at any given place. As Nicole stated, they are using not only for texting, but for messaging, internet, emailing, high-definition pictures, and for playing music. However, I am a little wary of this new app “mobile credit card.” How many times have you lost a phone or had it crash on you? How are you supposed to pay then if out shopping? While I do think it is a great way to reduce stolen or lost credit cards, there are still risks involved. I think we know computers are non resistant to hackers and viruses. What if phones become prone to these dangers also as Dr. Kwok mentioned? I much prefer to have a tangible credit card on me than a mobile app that I have to worry about not working. I don’t trust technology. I have had too many broken phones, Ipods, and computers along with lost information, so I’m hesitant to continue to invest in such technology. I think it is still a great idea for some people and is quite an impressive app, but it definitely comes with its consequences. I agree with Nicole, Jacqueline, and Marcella that perhaps it’s not such a great idea to have so much personal information on one device.

  6. I did not understand the convenience and enthusiasm towards smart phones until I recently purchased one. Before I was acquainted to my new device, I was already attached to it and the services that it provides. I now always have my smartphone on hand and I cannot see myself going back to a phone that does not have the applications that a smart phone provides. The device makes text messaging, e-mailing, picture taking, phone calling, listening to music, and internet use, easy tasks to complete when being on-the-go. These features are attractive to American's in today's society. Therefore, I am not surprised about a new application where consumers can make payments on their smart phones. Although it may be a convenient resource, is it necessary when security is such a large issue today? Until security is proven to eliminate problems, this application should be set on hold. I also agree, with Nicole, Jacqueline, and Marcella that this application leads to there being too much available personal information on the smart phone. However, I think it is a good idea to be worked on for the future and today's society may benefit from it.

  7. Emily Orsburn
    Simple phones today are hard to find. I agree that smart phones are taking over our generation in a sense. I recently had the opportunity to upgrade my phone and there were few phones that were not smart phones. I didn't have many choices outside of that arena so I chose smart phone without getting a data plan. The smart phone itself only cost 9 dollars with the plan, however the data plan would have cost me 25 dollars a month. Thats 300 dollars a year. Although it is a good point and great convenience that one day all we might need to bring is our smart phones, I personally do not like the idea of "putting all of my eggs in one basket". What happens if you lose your phone? You no longer just lose a communication device, you lose everything. Not only do you lose everything, you are exposing your information to whoever finds your phone. Now that payments, banking, and credit card information can all be stored on a smart phone, there is little the protection of privacy once your smart phone is lost.

  8. I like this idea of everything is starting to take a turn into having the option of being available to be used on a device that for our country and generation seems to be attached at our finger tips at all times. So the idea that we are able to use one device for many different functions like pay for things, open hotel doors and get coupons on and maybe even get your plane tickets on device rather than having to carry around a paper trail with credit cards, cash or paper tickets. And if you look at what most people are paying with now a days any way it seems to be mostly credit cards too. So overall I think this could be a new invention that would be very useful for the generation and make buying things and not loosing them more successful. The only thing that I don’t like with the idea of everything turning into being controlled by the phone is what happens if you loose your phone? Or run out of money on the phone account? Or what happens if people now figure out how to trick this system, will it make it easier for people to steal other identities?
    -Ashley Dimon

  9. The whole idea of needing less to carry around every day is very positive. When you only need one device to do everything, there is a less chance that you will lose it and also it is better for the environment if there are less material things and you can use one material thing to do several jobs. The thing that I think is negative for this smart phone idea is that if the battery dies on it then you are out of resources. If it somehow breaks then you are also out of resources. There are many opportunities to become stranded if all of your information and everything you need is on that one device. In addition, I feel as though it would be easier for people who are very good with technology to steal personal information from the phones.

  10. I think everyone here makes a valid point. I also have a smart phone and I find it hard to go anywhere without it. I use to to connect to the internet and use apps twice as much as I use it to actually call people. I recently read that by the end of 2011, credit cards will be replaced by the use of smart phones. Instead of having a plastic card to pay for things, people will be able to use their phones. I think Nicole makes a great point in the protection side of things. I know personally that I can be a little scatterbrained at times and I have lost my phone a few times. If it ever came down to choosing between having a few plastic credit cards in my wallet or having all my card information on my phone, I think I would stick with my wallet just to be safe

  11. An relevant video from CNN (on 01/31/2011); actually, people in Hong Kong have been using this technology for a decade. I think this technology in China is not new either.

  12. I think many have the made the point that there are many opportunities to lose everything you need on one device. I wanted to comment again on this story because it is an issue that is currently pertaining to my life. A few days ago my phone broke and I was faced with the dilemma of either buying a new phone that I didn't want or not having a phone for the next week or so while I waited for the I pone (the phone I want) to come in for Verizon. Nevermind the fact that I was also devastated because my phone contains all of the contacts, my calendar, my alarm, etc. How was I supposed to contact anyone? Did this mean I would have to go out and buy an alarm clock? How was I supposed to remember what I had to do for the rest of the day when I have a million priorities each day to focus on and remember? So, my point is that while the story states that "soon all we may need to carry is our phones," it is not always the best idea. I agree with Emily that it's not always safe to "put all of your eggs in one basket" per say when you risk losing everything if you do that.

  13. As described this sounds like a prepayment plastic card (that nigh-on invisible beast that Ryanair would like you to use online when booking to get a no fees deal) - you top it up to as much as £150 and spend within that ceiling at up to £15 a throw. Where is the consumer reward for giving the card issuer £150 in a non interest bearing account - given the merchant revenue generated when they spend? How about credits or cash loans to use on the associated phone? Or is that already part of the system not mentioned here? Even if the advantages are as compelling as claimed (they are not), this doesn't doom cash. Not everybody has, or is able to have, a smartphone. Would your grandma be okay with this? Are you prepared to give your child a smartphone, along with the pocket money allowance?


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