- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Review: Mobile payment needs better compatibility
Question of the Day
A few dozen national chains accept Google Wallet using card readers equipped with MasterCard’s PayPass technology. That includes at least four close to my home or office, but many more accept plastic.
The bigger problem: The app works with only a small number of Android phones on Sprint’s network. The iPhone doesn’t have the hardware. The other big wireless carriers have blocked or made it difficult to get Google’s app even on devices that have the right hardware. That’s because Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are jointly developing a competing wallet system called Isis. Can’t everyone just get along?
I was able to borrow a Sprint device for my test and went on shopping and eating sprees at McDonald’s, 7-Eleven and CVS and Duane Reade drug stores. It took several purchases and a few thousand calories to get the hang of it.
The first employee at McDonald’s wasn’t very helpful, suggesting that I try swiping the phone in the thin slot that barely fits the plastic card. I learned that it’ll take more than getting the hardware in place to make mobile systems as ubiquitous as plastic. Customers and employees need to get used to it, too.
Google Wallet lets you store gift cards, but not those from the stores I have gift cards for. The app links to the Google Offers deals service and gives you instant discounts at some retail stores as long as you pay with the app. Again, none are for stores I plan to buy from in the near future.
Because I often had to enter a four-digit security code and tap a second time to complete transactions, I found swiping a card much easier. Although some card transactions require signatures, many merchants no longer bother for smaller sales. Discounts might be the draw, but I’m still waiting for an offer I can use.
The Pay With Square app lets you pay simply by giving the store your name, once you add a photo of yourself. The app uses location technology such as GPS to find nearby stores that accept Square. You choose one and tell the store your name. The store sees names and photos for Square users nearby and chooses your account to charge.
Starbucks recently signed on to accept Square. So I tried to buy a chai latte with it the other day, only to face befuddled employees not knowing what I was talking about. Turns out the payments won’t be accepted until this fall, and initially some stores will require bar codes instead of accepting your name.
I searched for other stores but couldn’t find any close by that I needed anything from. I had to go out of my way to buy coffee and banana bread with Square.
I fully understand that a lot has to happen before paying by phone becomes as convenient as credit cards. Just as the Web didn’t have many websites early on, mobile payment doesn’t have many stores accepting it. That’s bound to change over time.
But a few things might keep me away from mobile payments for good:
_ With several competing systems, it’s a pain to keep track of who accepts what, let alone which phones work with which program. As more get announced, mobile payment will be even more of a mess.
Imagine if your dry cleaner takes only dollars, your grocery store takes only euros and your gas station requires Norwegian kroner. Businesses behind mobile payments need to start working together. It’s fine to compete, but make the competing systems compatible.
TWT Video Picks
President wants everyone but himself to pay more
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Afghan who killed three U.S. Marines in 2012 to serve over 7-year prison sentence
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq