Not so very long ago, you may recall, mobile phones were used exclusively for, well, ‘phoning. Then the launch of texting on the mobile phone became a phenomena, you could text someone you didn’t really want to speak to.. and then to compete with the camera industry the mobile became our camera and photo album rolled into one. Then it became our music player. And our games device. And our personal organiser. And – the crème de la crème – our means of accessing the Internet, allowing us to send emails, watch TV, tweet, update face book and buy items from our phones.
Well, it’s already a means of accessing your bank balance, isn’t it? So why not take things that one step further: forget that little plastic oblong tucked inside your wallet, simply swipe your handset over a bar code reader, the money comes out of your account and the new sofa is yours.
We have just seen Tesco’s advertising the iphone reading bar codes and dropping the item into your smart phone shopping basket!
I know that m-commerce is more simply brimming over with developments for the future but the simple question of whether or not mobiles can replace credit cards is an interesting proposition especially when the theft of mobile phones is on the increase. Because the mobile has become much more than the a simple talk and text communication tool therein lies the problem.
As the handset becomes the point of access to, and indeed default storage locker for, the myriad minutiae of our existence, the potential loss of that handset becomes a far more traumatising then moving home! I think the stress list needs to be rearranged to read a) loss of mobile phone, b) moving c) getting divorced etc.
Speaking personally, I love this new technology, I love the fact that you can do so much from a little handset which simplifies one life and even though the concept sounds great! (less for me to carry in my handbag) how is this method of payment from your mobile phone going to be guaranteed secure?
Because phones are relatively cheap to come by now (especially if you take out a contract) most teenagers are carrying the latest models. I don’t want to be negative, but I don’t fancy getting mugged for my phone because they can swipe it for a packet of cigarettes.
This is part of the wider problem that we face: managing the transition to a mobile-centric world. It ain’t easy, it won’t be easy, but we have to do it, because – whether we like it or not – that transition is happening. I can’t pretend to have the solution to the credit card conundrum, but I suspect that is a conundrum that will be taxing a lot more of us in the medium term as new organisation raise up to help solve and charge us for the privilege.
With this in mind, more and more retailers need to look at how they can communicate with smart phones.