Mobile payment technology could deepen America's debt and perpetuate over-spending Skip to main content
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Mobile payment technology could deepen America's debt and perpetuate over-spending

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What if we told you that there may soon be available an easier way to buy things than a credit card? And what if we furthered that concept by saying this new method involved your smart phone? Scary or cool? Yeah, we’re not sure how to think about it either. But everyone needs to get ready for it. The latest version of Google’s Android smartphone operating system will soon be embedded into the latest crop of phone tech. One of its features will allow users to receive a constant stream of data on consumer goods of interest, not unlike how Gmail uses your email content to deliver advertisements. This perpetual signal will also be able to accept messages from the RFID tags that are attached to just about everything sitting on a retail shelf today. The idea, right out of a Philip K. Dick novel, would connect any recent product search you’ve done with the data available in the RFID tags. So if you searched online recently for a new pair of trail runners, information on the latest models by Brooks and La Sportiva will automatically filter into your phone as you walk through the mall or down the street. The technology is called “near-field communications” and is considered the “killer app” in the mobile payment market, which is expected to continue to explode. Google CEO Eric Schmidt talked about it at a recent conference. "Imagine that instead of typing my search, my phone is sending me information all the time. Maybe I tell [my phone] I need a pair of pants, and I get relevant information as I walk down the street." Schmidt didn’t dwell for too long on the concept to deliberately create an undercurrent of enthusiasm and speculation, to which we are glad to contribute. If mobile payments work as expected, what will role will the technology play in contributing to a person’s debt? Many credit cards already charge different interest rates for different uses of a card (cash advances vs. standard purchases), so will mobile payments add yet another fee-based transaction type? Going further, one must also consider the role third party players would have on transaction costs. It is reasonable to suggest that at some point, mobile payments will have fees attached designated for the online merchant, like PayPal, which has already announced a substantial mobile payment strategy. Currently, PayPal is focusing mobile payment technology on smaller merchants, like local business with single locations, because they have historically had a harder time adapting to the technologies involved. PayPal wants to change all that. Last month, the company announced "Titanium+Commerce," a project that will eventually allow just about any size retailer to create mobile “apps” for PayPal-powered purchases. It has partnered with a company called Appcelerator to design the tools that will facilitate the purchasing tools. A marketing executive for Appcelerator, Scott Schwarzhoff, wants to help small companies be as successful in the smartphone user sector as larger companies. "It's easy for huge companies to put in a lot of manpower on mobile strategies," he said in a recent CNN.com article. "We want to make it simple for the corner store to do the same thing." The onset of mobile payment technology could mean big trouble for those Americans doing all they can to resist the power of impulse purchasing. Now, those marketing messages, incentives and coupons will be in front of us every time we call to check in with our child. And it’s all connected to a credit card. Or even worse, our checking accounts. Struggling with mounting debt? Stop the harassment, and call the attorneys at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt today. With offices in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilson, Greensboro, Garner or Wilmington, we're just a short drive away. Call today to set up your free initial debt consultation- 1-800-499-1818 or visit www.billsbills.com. Our initial consultation is always FREE.

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