“Paying by phone will be as transformative as the advent of the credit card in the 1950s. It will change the way we shop and bank. With powerful smartphones and tablets taking center stage on both sides of the checkout counter, it will reshape the relationship between buyer and seller. Not only will the phone or the tablet become a wallet for consumers, but it will also turn into a credit card reader and a register for merchants. Shoppers will use their mobile device as a coupon book, a comparison-shopping tool, and a repository of those unwieldy loyalty cards they carry from everyone from giant retail chains to the corner bakery. And your smartphones will serve as beacons that will alert a retailer when you walk into its store so that it can recommend products, show you reviews, or direct you to aisle five, where that beanbag chair you didn't buy last week still beckons -- and you can now have it for 10% off. You won't even need a few singles to tip the valet or pay the dog walker, because they'll take mobile payments too.
What's in play: millions of merchants, billions of transactions, and trillions of dollars in commerce. Which is why the burgeoning revolution has already turned into a free-for-all. Everyone wants in, from big phone companies like AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) to the credit card networks like Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) to tech giants like Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), and eBay's (EBAY) PayPal unit. Scores of startups have joined the fray; so have traditional banks, retailers, and makers of point-of-sale hardware like VeriFone (PAY). All those contenders are eager to know whether Apple (AAPL), which has 400 million credit cards on file, or perhaps Facebook (FB) or Amazon (AMZN), will enter the game soon. Indeed, Apple seemed to tiptoe into the space in June when it announced that the iPhone will soon hold boarding passes, movie tickets, and prepaid store cards”
Photo Credit of Square mobile payment app