Are Mobile Payments an Improvement? (Wired)

Cards already give consumers an easy way to pay.

The push is on to get consumers to use mobile phones to pay for purchases. Last week Starbucks announced a partnership with Square, a mobile-payments company, that will allow customers to pull out their cellphone to pay for coffee. But an article in Wired suggests such payments fall under the heading “solutions to nonexistent problems.”

Credit and debit cards already work well. Currently, the benefits from mobile payments seem to fall more to retailers, who can get much more detailed data about their customers and should find it easier to target offerings of coupons and other special deals. The article notes that mobile payments may flourish in emerging markets, where retail establishments may lack the technology to accept credit cards.

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