Smart Phone Swiping Could Replace Cards, Cash by 2020

By 2020, swiping with smart phones or other devices will gain mainstream acceptance as a method of payment and could replace cash and credit/debit cards for most online and in-store purchases.
That is the consensus of Internet experts and users surveyed by Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
Many of those surveyed said that the security, convenience and other benefits of “mobile wallet” systems would result in widespread adoption for everyday purchases eight years from now.
Others were more cautious in their outlook, expecting the transformation to unfold relatively slowly because of “privacy fears, a desire for anonymous payments, demographic inertia, a lack of infrastructure to support widespread adoption, and resistance from those with a financial stake in the existing payment structure.”
Overall, a majority of these respondents supported the generally full adoption of smart-device swiping.
Mobile money is the next logical step in the evolution of consumer finance, agrees Susan Crawford, Harvard professor and formerly a special assistant for technology policy for President Barack Obama.
“There is nothing more imaginary than a monetary system,” Crawford said. “The idea that we solemnly hand around printed slips of paper in exchange for food and water shows just how trusting and fond of patterned behavior we human beings are. So why not take the next step? Of course we’ll move to even more abstract representations of value.”
In late 2011, Google launched Google Wallet in partnership with Citibank and MasterCard. It is based on a technology known as near-field communication (NFC). Google Wallet allows users to store payment information “in the cloud” and pay for goods at participating retailers by tapping their phone at the point of purchase.
Another project – this one including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Visa, American Express, Discover and MasterCard – will be testing a similar NFC-based mobile payment system known as ISIS starting in some cities in mid-2012.
PayPal and Visa have also announced plans for mobile wallet systems, and analysts predict that Apple will announce its own virtual wallet service in the near future.

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