A popular payment method from Korea is coming to America: Visa is currently trialing contactless phone payments in San Francisco, CA. Phones fitted with small memory cards will become ‘electronic wallets’ that make transactions with store payment systems.
Visa, along with Apple, is also investigating applications that will ultimately allow customers to point their phone at an object and purchase it with a simple click.
A lack of technological infrastructure precludes American retailers and phone brands from rolling out contactless payments across the country anytime soon, but this does raise a host of issues. Paperless banking is one thing and the gradual disappearance of cash and checks is widely accepted.
However are cards to enjoy a short lived ascendancy? Will the contactless phone ultimately consume the debit/credit card? The ability for customers to point and purchase makes ‘on demand’ a reality in retail and has connotations of childish, impulsive, impatience.
In the wider retail world, impulsive purchases might be made in response to advertising installations or chip enabled billboards. Contactless phone payments are yet another example of the “right now” mentality that seems to permeate today’s society.