Pay As You Go

1 12 2010

Don’t you just hate it when someone at the register in front of you waits for everything to be rung up, and then e-v-e-r s-o s-l-o-w-l-y reaches into their pocket or purse for cash? Or, worse yet, a check book?

Time never passes so slowly. All it takes is one Meanderthal to bring the line (if not the whole world) to a grinding halt.

Sure, most people have a billfold full of plastic these days (credit and/or debit), and being able to self-swipe our payments helps speed things up considerably.

But even plastic is about to get a kick to the shin, and those of us who think that Visa is everywhere we want it to be are going to have to consider a new method of payment. One that has been used in selected places around the world for several years. And it is as close as our cell phone.

Coming soon to a phone near you is the new Bling Nation system, one of several payment systems that rely on either an app or a special chip affixed to the phone. Just wave your smartphone by a special reader, and your credit (or debit) card will be hit for the amount.

This should be a slam dunk for me. I’m always holding my phone at the register anyway, often texting away while the bagger readies my purchases.

Better yet, it means I can take about a half-inch of plastic out of my wallet (no doubt helping correct my posture when seated). I won’t need much…my TXDL, WT ID and SBUX gift card.

Heck, we might not even need chiropractors anymore.

But naysayers are going to groan and speculate about all the bad tidings that will happen to someone who drops their phone in the toilet, or leaves it at a bar. That phone is more than your brain. Now it will also be your bank account and available credit.

Hold on a sec, Luddite breath. Your wallet is already a holdup waiting to happen. At least your phone can be traced by cell towers. Try doing that with your billfold.

It is a foregone conclusion that all cell phones will one day soon be smartphones. And given that we have already started doing a slew of things on those phones that once required separate devices, it is no surprise that technophiles are rushing to bring these services to market. While analysts say that 1-in-6 of us will have this by 2014, I am far more optimistic. This is not like the introduction of the debit card (which took several years to get any significant buy-in). No, we are ready for this, and we understand that our lives are going to be easier when we can essentially run our entire lives from one device.

Just don’t be the person in front of me in 2014 who insists on using old-school money. Because I (or the folks behind me) may tell you to go where you (and Visa) don’t want to be.

Dr “Hurry Up And Pay” Gerlich


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