When Google announced Google Wallet, its mobile payment system, back in May, beyond the usual privacy and security concerns, a "so what? who cares?" factor crept into the conversation. Credit cards, debit cards and cash are pretty convenient, pointed out The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal: "I can't help but wonder, though, if the biggest question remains unanswered: why would people use their phones to pay for things if they have perfectly acceptable alternatives already?" If it's just a credit card on your phone, there's little incentive to change your habits--and that goes for any cell phone-credit card mashup. But, companies experimenting with the tech, like PayPal and MasterCard, who both unveiled their mobile payments platforms, report Endgadget's Josh Volpe and, in another post, Endgadget's Lydia Leavitt, are adding some bells and whistles, making mobile payments more than a credit card on your phone.
It's faster. Swiping plastic takes time. You have to rifle through your purse or pants-pocket, find the card, slide it through the machine, maybe enter your pin or decline giving $5 to colon cancer, and then sign with a germy stylus. Mobile payments have fewer steps, as one of Madrigal's commenter's, Jef, argued, "It's just way quicker than any other methods you've mentioned." Both MasterCard and PayPall are playing that up. Google Wallet will work alongside MasterCard's PayPass stations, which as Gizmodo's Matt Buchanan points out, are pretty ubiquitous. "you'll be able to use it anywhere that's hooked up with PayPass, which is at a lot of retailers already." While PayPal's system won't have that advantage, Leavitt reports the company wants to incorporate "fast checkout," and as this video shows, there are lots of features that ease payment transfer, like phone-bumping.