Ever come across some fancy little gadget or outfit you wanted to buy, but didn’t have the cash on you or left your credit card at home? Apparently that isn’t going to be a problem for much longer. A senior vice president with the Ericsson Mobile Phone Company has stated that within a year all mobile phones will come equipped with a credit card. Thus, wherever you bring your cell phone you will be able to make a purchase. This brings up more than a few questions from us. How will it work? Can it actually be safe? And most importantly, what does this mean for all the shopaholics out there? It is hard enough having to choke down a $100 cell phone bill when you text too much. Imagine opening up your bill on the first of the month and seeing a sum of, oh, let’s say $3,000.
Honey, What Numbers Have you Been Calling?
Just try explaining to your spouse that you bought that new plasma screen with your cell phone and forgot all about it. Oh the accusations that are sure to coming flying in and the relationships will end in a bitter tiff. “Honey, are you sure that $3,000 bill isn’t from texting your ex girlfriend or calling that 1-900 number you love so much”? Guaranteed your clothes will be waiting for you on the lawn before you even have time to explain. Can you even blame her? What else are cell phones supposed to be for other than talking and chatting? Even worse, what will happen if your girlfriend borrows your phone for a day and accidentally walks by all the cash registers at the Coach, Guess and Fendi outlet stores?
But How Does it Work?
Enough with the nightmares, lets talk a little more about how the technology actually works and when you may have to start dealing with it. In the USA, where mobile technology is lagging behind quite a bit, banks and major companies are testing out a sort of detectable sticker that would be attached to your current phone of choice. With the sticker you can then make purchases by scanning your phone, rather than your credit card, at checkout lines. It will not stop there either. That same sticker will allow you to gain entrance to concerts, movies, and even unlock your apartment. The real question that has to be asked is whether or not this is really safe. Think back on how many times you have misplaced your cell phone or even let a friend borrow it. With this technology you would have to worry about a lot more than someone racking up the long distance minutes on your phone. However, you already know that mobile technology companies are coming up with ways to ensure you feel comfortable with all this new found power.
The Facts Behind the Figures
The technology being used, dubbed as NFC, is a lot different than the usual RFID technology that is used in current products, such as credit cards that don’t need to be swiped and microchips for pets. NFC requires a sort of two-way communication that would allow a payment to be processed only if the user gave the go ahead and the cell phone was within an inch of the RFID payment device. On top of this companies want to add a PIN number that would force you to make a payment the same way you use your debit card in stores. Credit card companies have also stated that they would track purchases and phone calls and disable the function if suspicious activity began to go on. And what if you lose your phone? Simply call and deactivate it the exact same way that you would if you misplaced your credit card.
A Credit Card in a Cell Phone? Or Just a Heavier Credit Card?
While all this security sounds fine and dandy, it really leaves one question. Doesn’t this new cell phone technology sound a lot like an actual credit card? Is there really much convenience added in using a cell phone to make purchases if we have to remember a PIN number, guard our phones with our lives, and call the credit card company to inquire about suspicious activity? Instead of upping technology and adding credit cards to cell phones, doesn’t it just seem like they are turning our phones into heavier, more expensive, and less reliable credit cards? We’ve got enough worries on our minds, and more than enough credit cards already, thanks though. It sure is a nice thought but wouldn’t you rather stick to that tiny piece of plastic that you can freeze or cut up should anything go wrong?