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Forget your wallet? There’s an app for that

Smartphones can act as a credit card reader, hold concert tickets

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 8:58 am

 Smartphones can already perform a variety of functions, but soon they may also be a way for paying your bills.

 Many current smartphone apps can take the place of a credit card. In fact, as the apps become more widely usable, a smartphone may be able to replace the contents of your wallet entirely.

 Though not overly common yet, several android phones now come with a chip inside that allows them to make wireless monetary transactions. You can use an app called Google Wallet to store your credit card, debit card, or gift card information in your phone. When you are buying something at a store with a PayPass credit card terminal, a simple tap of your phone against the terminal will pay for your purchase.

 Another newly emerging payment method includes a smartphone app named Level Up. This app works similarly to Google Wallet, linking your credit or debit card to your phone. The app will then create a barcode on your phone that can be scanned by businesses to make a transaction. The number of businesses that take payment through this app is small at the moment, though constantly growing.

 Not only can your smartphone help you make payments, but it can help you receive them as well.

 Several different companies sell credit card readers that plug into the headphone jack of your smartphone.

 “You are able to swipe a credit card through the device, and it reads the card. Then somebody can sign their name on your phone with their finger or a stylus,” said Dave Hrejsa of the Wireless Zone.

 The cost of the card readers vary, with some being free in exchange for a small fee per transaction. Before buying one, make certain to know the details beforehand.

 The card readers can be useful in many different scenarios. “If you think about someone who does craft shows or art fairs or even a garage sale, it’s a good way to accept payments,” Hrejsa said.

 Of course, our wallets hold things besides just money and the uses for our smartphones are always expanding. Recently iPhone users saw the release of Apple’s Passbook, an app that can store digital coupons, movie and concert tickets, and copies of boarding passes for airline flights. Passbook can be helpful for keeping your wallet slim and your important documents organized, and help them from getting lost.

 While PassBook is only available on iPhones, Google has said that they are working on similar functions for android phones.

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