Cash is annoying to carry around but debit or credit cards can be annoying too if the shop you’re in doesn’t have a card reader, or its card reader is broken. Imagine though if shopkeepers could accept payments using their phones. Well, the creator of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, is developing a system that does exactly that and it’s called Square. Dorsey’s system works by attaching a small plastic module (pictured right) with a built-in card reader to an iPhone or iPod Touch via the headphone jack.
In addition to the Square module, there’s an app which then processes the payment once you’ve swiped a card. It’s a fantastic idea but some people have questioned how convenient the module is in terms of plugging it in and out of an iPhone. Enter Mophie, a competing company that has developed a similar system except that the card reader is built into a case (pictured left). The advantage of Mophie’s card reader is that you can leave it on – if you don’t mind the bulky profile.
Both systems are a step in the right direction but it’s early days for mobile payment technology, so we can’t predict whether they will take off or not. It’s worth noting that Visa is working on using its contactless payment technology, currently available for certain cards, in mobile phones. Considering Visa’s reach, its system could do very well but these readers don’t work with that technology just yet. It would be cool though if you could make and receive payments using just phones – let’s hope that’s not too far off.
[Mophie image from Pocket-lint.com]