Sunday, May 08, 2011

What would Mobile Payments do for me?

Mobile payments is something I have been hearing about from the time I started working in this industry . How mobile payments are going to change the way we shop, how I will stop carrying my wallet, how I will point my phone at my shopping cart at a store and get the total amount I should pay and then with a tap i would pay for it etc. Just that nothing major has happened till now.

This year was touted as the year of NFC based payments but its May and I'm still carrying my wallet for shopping. Yes I do have made payments on mobile but mostly online for movie tickets but when it comes to brick and mortar store shopping its still with my credit cards. But I'm ready (My Nexus S has NFC) and waiting.

What do I want from mobile payments?
  1. It should help me in those rare occasions when I forget to take my wallet or get stolen. This has happened to me 3-4 years ago. I once did a long ISD call from a PCO and then realized I didnt have money. Luckily the guy over there trusted me and allowed me to get money from home. I really wished if I could transfer some money from my mobile phone credit to his account. The mobile phone being one more way of payment. Open some app, put in my pin, punch in the amount and tap the phone onto an NFC payment thingy at the point of sales. But I still dont think its going to replace my wallet. I'll be paying using my card or cash for some more time.
  2. An easier mobile way to share the bill with my friends at a restaurant. The NFC thingy at the table could take multiple taps from phones till the bill amount is settled.
  3. The ability to use my phone to store the metro season ticket information and tap to validate the charge whenever I travel. The same could be used for any kind of prepaid subscriptions.
  4. Accept payments. Yes I think Square is the most outstanding idea of recent times. Square allows anyone to accept payments from a credit card using their phones. My friend can pay me back the money I lent him using his credit card. The guy who buys my old furniture can pay me using his credit card. I can pay the newspaper boy, milk man, mobile istri guy and cable guy using my credit card.
  5. Easier utility bill payments. I know today i can do that but should be more easier to do.

Please let me know if you have any more use cases for mobile payments.
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