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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 5, May 2012, Posted On: 5/1/2012

Pew Research Sees Cashless World On The Horizon

Hank Schlesinger
vending business, bulk vending, cashless vending, mobile payments, NFC smart phone, cell phone payment system, Pew Research Center, Google Wallet, Isis Mobile Wallet

NEW YORK CITY -- A survey by the Pew Research Center predicts that the future of money may be the cellphone. And that future is closer than many think. According to the report, one in 10 Americans already have made charitable contributions via text messaging and more than a third have used mobile devices for banking. What’s more, 38% of smartphone users have purchased goods of some kind over their devices. | SEE SURVEY

The Pew survey is not alone. A Federal Reserve report released in March maintains that 21% of mobile phone owners have used mobile banking services in the past year and another 11% plan on using such services in the next 12 months. This suggests consumers are rapidly acclimating to buying smartphones.

Payments technologies, which include mobile apps like Google Wallet and other systems using near-field communication (NFC), are said to offer some advantages over cash and even credit cards. Proponents say "mobile money" is more convenient, and the devices that manage it have the ability to personalize shopping services (i.e., making suggestions or offering promotions).

The potential of tapping into the multitrillion-dollar market has not gone unnoticed by the giant financial and technology firms. In 2011, Google rolled out Google Wallet with Citibank and MasterCard. Google Wallet users simply tap their NFC-enabled phones at points of purchase. | SEE STORY

In the near future, a consortium that includes Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Visa, American Express, Discover and MasterCard are planning to roll out their own NFC-based payment system called Isis Mobile Wallet. This is a serious effort that is believed to have cost upwards of $100 million.

According to the Pew survey, these types of payment technologies will gain widespread acceptance by 2020.

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