Bump the Bill
By David Dorf on Mar 18, 2010
I'm writing this from 3,400 feet in the air somewhere between Chicago and Austin. GoGo In-flight strikes again. Is there anywhere I can't get a WiFi connection? While listening to Deacon Blues by Steely Dan and skimming the news, I just came across an interesting article on mobile payments.Remember when I wrote about the iPhone Bump application and its possible use in retail? Well it looks like PayPal updated their mobile payments application to include the bump technology. Now its possible to transfer money between individuals by bumping iPhones. According to the WSJ, Paypal did 24 million transactions in 2008 and 140 million in 2009 on mobile phones. As the technology gets easier to use, that number is bound to increase.
Alternatives to Paypal include Google Checkout, Amazon Payments, wireless carriers ("put it on my phone bill"), smart cards (using your phone's SIM card), and iTunes. That last one comes courtesy of a story Joe Skorupa wrote on mobile payments. It looks like Apple allows iPhone apps to take micro-payments via iTunes accounts, so there may come a time when its possible to use your iPhone to make a purchase in a retail store and have your credit card charged via your iTunes account.
There are still some improvements in usability to be made before using a phone will be easier than swiping a credit card, but its already better than fussing with cash.