One Day Soon Your Cell Phone May Replace Your Credit Card

What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Europe has it. So does Asia. So why is America last when it comes to using your cell phone as a credit card?

What’s common in Europe and Asia may finally be coming to America: Waving your cell phone instead of swiping a credit card when you buy something.

The technology is already in the phone, so it’s “expected to take off in a big way,” claimed an Internet News story – from early 2007.

So what happened?

Unlike overseas, the United States has many more cell phone makers, mobile carriers, and credit-card companies. So it was with great fanfare last week that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile announced they’d join forces to test just such a payment option in four U.S. cities.

The only city named so far is Atlanta, according to a Bloomberg report that calls the partnership a “game-changer.”

It works like this: Instead of taking out a credit card and swiping it through a reader, you’ll pull out your cell phone and wave it across a similar-looking device. An RFID chip embedded inside your phone will identify your account, and the charge will show up on your phone or credit card bill at the end of the month.

The technology isn’t the problem – the profits are. The hang-up is deciding on who gets what portion of the processing fees. The New York Times described it this way back in January 2009:

Cellphone manufacturers, carriers, financial institutions and retailers must all play roles. There also must be some sort of intermediary that is trusted by both the financial institutions and the carriers to activate the virtual credit cards inside the phone.

In fact, Nokia did a similar trial in 2006, starting in Irvine, Texas, and expanding to Atlanta, New York, and the San Francisco. While customers loved it, Nokia couldn’t negotiate the back-end deals. Apparently, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have hashed out those details, working with Discover Financial Services, maker of the Discover Card, to help with the process. No word on when those other three test cities will be announced. Stay tuned – or should we say, wait by the phone.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Ask Stacy: What’s the Best Way to Borrow?

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,057 more deals!