Buying with plastic and cash is old news

Cell phone technology is making everything easier, including shopping. And internet big shots like the president of PayPal, Scott Thompson, are hoping you will buy into the purchasing power of the cell phone. That’s right, now you can use your cell phone to shop. And not just online, in the mall’s stores too. An article in the New York Times presents a new way to use your phone.

If you have internet access to your phone, you could potentially pay for things like rent and medications. You could even take a picture of an item’s bar code and compare the store’s prices to online prices.

Mastercard is running a program through a start-up company that actually allows you to transfer money with a single text. And whomever you’re sending that text to need only open an account to receive your funds.

But what about security? What happens if you lose your phone? I for one would not feel comfortable knowing that if I set my phone down someone could easily run off with my phone and all my money.

A safer option is using your cell phone like a credit card. In Malaysia, people are swiping their phones just like they would their plastic. But isn’t it easier to steal a phone than it is a purse or a wallet?

I don’t know about everyone else, but even if I could use my phone to buy things, I would probably still use cash or plastic.

Do you think using your cell phone to pay for things is a good idea? If you could, would you stop using cash and plastic?

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8 responses to “Buying with plastic and cash is old news

  1. Hmmmmmmm. This is actually an awesome idea I guess. But all the same, I have some of the same doubts that you do. I’d rather wait and let all these other people be the guinea pigs for a while longer to make sure the bugs get worked out before I started swiping my phone anywhere.

    With all of our lives migrating to a single place- our cell phone- it makes me a little apprehensive. I’ve always been taught not to put all your eggs in one basket. So what happens if I’m listening to music AND I realize I need directions AND I have to answer a text AND I have something very important to tweet AND someone calls me AND I need to pay for my lunch all at the same time?

  2. Good point Ann. If you carry all your assets with you in one little device, you run the risk of losing all of it in a second. What happens if your phone falls in the toilet or the battery dies and you’re away from an outlet?

  3. I think it’s a really cool idea, but I’m with you. Credit cards are simple and effective, which is almost undoubtedly more than we can say about moving your finances to your phone.

    Besides, how often have you had to replace a phone? I’m pretty careful with mine and I’ve been through three – adds up to one a year. I think that phones are made so cheaply to begin with, we should definitely think twice before making them such a significant part of our lives (more than they are already.)

  4. Although it is convenient and pretty cool at the same time, I don’t know if it is the safest idea. I let friends borrow my phone all the time. This would make me worry that while they are calling their grandma, they might actually be transferring my savings to God knows where.

    There would also be the issue of charging my phone–I always forget to. So if my phone is dead and it is my only means of money, does that mean I’m broke? And instead of just buying a new phone if I break it or drop it in the toilet, I would have to worry about canceling and reactivating accounts, and all the other information that went down the drain.

    It would be good for organization–but detrimental for the life of a college student I feel like–or at least for me. It would bring more problems than convenience.

  5. Using your cell phone to buy things. Well, why not? Frankly, we are living in a society where we do literally everything else with our cell phones, so why not shopping?

    My roommate doesn’t have a computer, for example. She doesn’t really need one, either–she does everything online, including her Facebook, from her cell phone. I think this would get rather annoying, but she’s saving lots of money on not buying that laptop.

    So where do we draw the line? Who the heck knows. But I am not the type of person to live every facet of my life through my cell phone. Give me a year or two, though, and I’ll probably be the type of person who can’t stand to be more than two feet away from my phone. I move slowly with technology. I’m almost 30. Technology scares me. It means I’m getting old when I don’t know how to work it, right???

    • How can your roommate do things like type papers on his phone? I could never do that.
      Personally I’m glad I don’t have the internet on my phone. I mean sure it’s cool, but it’s just one more thing to take away from face-to-face interactions, not to mention a more portable way to procrastinate.

  6. When I think about the number of times I lose my phone, I know this probably wouldn’t be the best idea for me. I’m sure someone would be off with my cash in no time at all.

    I think this is a really cool idea, but for some people—like me—it doesn’t seem practical. Also, I don’t think cell phones are really reliable these days. I don’t know about you guys, but mine is always breaking, and it isn’t always my fault. I think phones are kind of made to be disposable. I don’t like the fact that I wouldn’t have access to my money if my phone were dead or just decided not to work.

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