Cash, Check or Charge? How About Cellphone?

Instead of replacing credit cards, new technologies for your cellphone like Square rely on them.

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER and NICK BILTON
Published: April 28, 2010 see full feature at http://www.nytimes.com Business Day TECHNOLOGY

You win a bet, but the loser does not have enough cash on him to settle it. If he has a credit card, and most people usually do, there is finally a solution. A number of big and small companies — including eBay’s PayPal unit, Intuit, VeriFone and Square — are creating innovative ways for individuals to avoid cash and checks and settle all debts, public and private, using their cellphones.

Several of the companies have developed small credit card scanners that plug into a cellphone and for small fee enable any individual or small business to turn a phone into a credit card processing terminal. PayPal’s cellphone app calls for only a simple bump of two cellphones to transfer money. Apple has submitted a patent application for a cellphone payment system.

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