The trend is clear, a lot of companies want the mobile phone to become your new wallet and replace the credit card.
We’re talking about NFC, near-field communication. Think RFID. It’s a short-range wireless technology that will let mobile phones act as anything from wallets to hotel keys to tickets. The Web has been all over this since Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that the next version of Android would support NFC.
At the Web 2.0 Summit this week, Schmidt said it straight out: “This could replace your credit card.”
Which is understandable. Provided vendors add support for it, customers would be able to pay by just swiping their mobile phones across a reader. Pretty handy.
Just one question…
So, providing NFC-equipped mobile phones become the de-facto replacement of the credit card down the line, a few challenges will remain (aside from getting people to use it in the first place).
Primarily, what will you do when your mobile dies? It could be anything. Dead battery, or you manage to break it some other way.
We’re sure you’ll recognize this situation. It’s one of the modern world’s lovely little humiliations that seem to have happened at least once to every person alive: You’re standing in line at the grocery store’s cash register. Now it’s finally your turn to pay, but for some reason your credit card won’t process, and you don’t have enough cash to pay for your wares. The queue piles up behind you…
Will the new version of that be a dead mobile? “Oops, sorry, just have to charge my phone…”
Maybe in the future every cashier will be equipped with mobile phone chargers, just in case…