Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's scary sometimes to think about how much we use our mobile phones. In fact, one day soon we should start calling them something else because the phone--in terms of actually talking on the device--is becoming less and less of what we use them for. In addition to all of the texting, web browsing, social networking, picture taking and uploading, video recording, etc. you use your smartphones for, the money is in, well, the money. I'm sure you use your phone to check your bank accounts and maybe even make payments or online purchases through the mobile web, but Bank of America is seeking to up the ante in the global market of mobile payments that's estimated to be more than $170 billion.

BofA has launched a pilot program that it's testing out only in Charlotte, in which a customer can pay at a store register by simply scanning an image with a smartphone. So, basically, instead of swiping your debit/credit card at a register (as if that's too difficult), you would have the clerk scan your phone, which you likely would be holding in your hand anyway (oh no, but that would mean you wouldn't be able to rudely talk on your phone while in the checkout line).

Bank of America has partnered with a Wellesley, Massachusetts-based startup company called Paydiant, which specializes in mobile-wallet technology. Only BofA employees are participating in the three-month trial period, and five Charlotte merchants/retailers are being used. You can read more about the pilot program in this Reuters article.


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