Sunday, December 7, 2014

Paying for Meals and Groceries with a Smartphone

When Apple came out with their Apple Pay smartphone payment system, I wanted to be able to pay my bills with my smartphone as well because Apple was in the game and and smartphone payment systems promise secure payments.  I have twice been affected by unsecured payment systems at companies.   My debit card was compromised by the Target hacking debacle last year, and a few months later another company (a senior moment, I can't remember the name of the company) where I had used my debit card was hacked.  Fortunately, my bank account was not affected by these breaks in security, and my bank, The Fauquier Bank, was swift in giving me a new debit card each time.  It was hassle to change my card information on web sites where I pay for things online, but at least my money, what there is of it, was and still is safe.

However, there was a problem.  In order to use Apple Pay, you have to have an iPhone.  I don't have an iPhone, and I did not want to buy one to just to be able to use Apple Pay.  I do have another smartphone, the first HTC One.  It doesn't have Apple Pay on it, but I do have Google Wallet on it.  I have started to use it at restaurants and a grocery store.  I have been able to pay my restaurant bill at Panera Bread and McDonald's and my grocery bill at Wegmans, my favorite grocery store.  I would like to be able to use Google Wallet everywhere I go, but that is not possible now.  It is not widely accepted yet, but the debut of Apple Pay has increased the use of other smartphone payment systems such as Google Wallet.  Smartphone payment systems need to be deployed everywhere because hacking of companies and of banking accounts of people occurs everyday.  These systems won't stop hacking completely because no system is perfect, but they will protect people much better than what is in place now.  

It will be expensive to deploy these systems, but it will be more expensive not to deploy them.  Look at Target.  They have lost a lot of money and a lot of customers since they were hacked.  Maybe if they had installed at least one of these payment systems, things would have been different for them.  I was lucky.  I did not lose any money when my debit card was compromised.  I might not be so lucky if this happens to me again.  That is why given everything else being equal, I will use an establishment that has Google Wallet over one that doesn't.

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