We’ve been hearing for years about the rise of a cashless society, one in which coins, bills and even credit cards are obsolete. One day, pulling out a credit card is going to make you look like this blogger’s mom, who continues to pay by check at the grocery store.
The Starbucks move, combined with a few other developments by companies like Google Inc., means we’re closer to real-world stores accepting these smartphone payments, even if consumers don’t make the change (no pun intended) right away.
Near-field communication, which transmits information only within a very small radius, is supported by the latest version of Android, Gingerbread, and Google is expressing more interest in enabling payments with the tap of a cellphone. Once retailers, tech giants and financial companies adopt such a system, consumers will follow — especially if they find it more convenient than keeping track of cash and cards.
But there still are a few stumbling blocks that might make users and businesses wary. The biggest concern? As with any new payment system, it’s security. Kenneth van Wyk over at ComputerWorld points out that new technology often has defects that can be exploited by criminals. “We have to get this right. For this new dawn of mobile payment systems to be accepted broadly by both consumers and enterprises, the system’s security must be the hero,” he writes.