Things are moving so fast! Soon credit cards may take a back seat to smart phones at the cash register
American reports say Google will begin testing the service at stores in San Francisco and New York in the next four months by installing thousands of cash register systems from VeriFone Systems.
The technology is called near field communication, NFC for short. Just tap your smart phone against a register, and a signal is sent a short distance into its works to pay your bill. It could eventually let shoppers ditch cash or plastic (or even loyalty and gift cards and coupons) altogether. One snag: it was rumoured that Apple's iPad 2 and iPhone 5 would include NFC. So far there is no sign. The iPad2 is out and the iPhone5 will probably be released this summer. Google has taken a leading role in the mobile phone industry with its Android operating system that it offers free to handset manufacturers. It's been pushing NFC-equipped phones, although there aren't many such Google devices out there yet. Google's Eric Schmidt at the Web 2.0 Summit predicted that mobile phones would eventually replace credit cards. "People don't understand how much more powerful these devices are going to be," Schmidt said. But he cautioned not to expect the technology to roll out quickly. "I expect to be carrying my credit cards around for quite some time," he said.